Rod Streater spent last December preparing with Temple for the New Mexico Bowl, what he believed would be the final football game of his career.
With only 19 catches as a senior, Streater understandably drew little notice from NFL scouts and was resigned to pursuing a career with his degree in communications and public relations.
Just a year later, Streater is proving he belongs in the NFL as he has become a trusted target for Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer and a key part of the Raiders’ future.
“It’s a crazy feeling,” he said. “I thought football was over for me. I was just looking at getting a job. Then you come here and the game’s on your hands. It’s a lot of pressure and then it’s not. It’s what you prepare for. It’s what you want to do as a kid growing up. It’s a good feeling.”
Streater is tied for sixth among all rookie wide receivers with 28 catches and has 429 yards receiving and three touchdowns. After hitting the proverbial rookie wall near Thanksgiving , Streater has gotten a second wind and put together his two most productive games the past two weeks.
“That’s part of being a rookie,” coach Dennis Allen said. “It’s a little bit of a roller-coaster ride, and you have some ups and downs.”
Streater bounced back from a zero-catch performance in Cincinnati on Nov. 25 to catch three balls for 96 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland the following week. Then on national television last Thursday night against Denver, Streater had four catches for a career-high 100 yards.
“I feel like I’m improving each week,” he said. “No matter what it is I always want to get better. Next week I’ll try to go better than 100. I just try to get better.”
NOTE: The Raiders were granted a one-day extension to sell enough tickets to avoid a local blackout.