Photo Credit: Chris Mezzavilla
There’s no love lost between Arden Key and the now-Las Vegas Raiders. Both Key and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst left the Raiders this offseason after being waived. Both were selected by Las Vegas back in 2018, with Key selected in the third round (87th overall) out of LSU and Hurst in the fifth round (140th overall) out of Michigan.
It’s clear that neither have mixed feelings about their decision to move to the one team remaining in the Bay. After waiving Hurst, who is well-liked amongst Raiders fans and has performed exceedingly well by just about any assessment, they signed six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy, 33, who tore his quadriceps last season with the Dallas Cowboys. Hurst is 26, Key, 25.
Hurst posted the following on Twitter after the McCoy signing:
— Maurice Hurst Jr (@mohurstjr) August 5, 2021
And on Sunday, Key made it abundantly clear that he was happy to be out of the Raiders’ system and unsurprised that they waived him.
“I wasn’t totally surprised,” Key said. “To be honest, I wanted to get out of there. I been wanting to get out of there. I wasn’t surprised. I was more happy than surprised. I wish it happened a little earlier but, hey, I got what I wanted and I’m good.”
Key pointed to the Raiders’ system as a point of discontent.
“It was just bad all around for me,” Key said. “Bad system. It just wasn’t the right fit for me and I had to get out.”
He said that some responsibility for what went wrong with the Raiders — in which he gained a reputation for underachieving and getting near-sacks — falls on him, but said that he became more mature there, learning not to visibly express his feelings about the team and affect morale.
What he made clear is that he didn’t take issue with his defensive line coaches, shouting out the legendary Rod Marinelli and current Cardinals defensive line coach Brenston Buckner. It’s an issue with, er, other folks in that organization.
There were multiple visits Key says he took around the league before signing with the 49ers, but that both he and Hurst chatted after their 49ers visit and came to the same conclusion: this was the spot.
“We talked after we both took our visit,” Key said. “It was just one of those deals where we got drafted together and there were certain things we wanted to change at the Raiders, and over here, it fit right in with both of our skillsets. It was just night and day. When they called and we came to visit and they were talking and we was looking at the film and everything, it was like, ‘Aw, we should be here. This is where we need to be.”