Linebacker Reggie Ragland returned to the NFL on Thursday, when the Las Vegas Raiders signed the former Alabama All-American for their practice squad.
The Raiders signed Ragland after promoting linebacker Curtis Bolton from the practice squad to the active roster. Bolton moved up when linebacker Blake Martinez decided to retire.
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Ragland had been out of football since the end of the 2021 season. He played in every game last season for the New York Giants, including nine starts. He made 67 tackles and two tackles for loss and recovered a fumble for New York, but he was not re-signed in the offseason.
At Bob Jones High School in Madison, Ragland earned All-State recognition three times (once as a tight end, twice as a linebacker), won the Class 6A Lineman of the Year Award in 2011 and received Under Armour All-American recognition. The Patriots did not lose a 6A Region 8 game in Ragland’s final three seasons. He also helped Bob Jones win the AHSAA 6A boys’ basketball championship in 2010.
In four seasons at Alabama, Ragland played on two national championship teams and earned the SEC Defensive Player of the Year Award and unanimous All-American recognition in 2015.
After being selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, Ragland suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament at the Buffalo Bills’ training camp as a rookie, and the knee injury caused him to miss the entire season.
During the 2017 preseason, the Bills traded Ragland to Kansas City. He was ready to play by the third game and started half of his 14 appearances in 2017.
In 2018, Ragland was a regular for the Chiefs. But for 2019, Kansas City changed its base defense from a three-man front to a four-man look, taking a linebacker off the field. And with the Chiefs often using five defensive backs, they typically had only two linebackers on the field at a time. Ragland played less than half as many snaps in 2019 as he did in 2018, when he started 15 games and made 86 tackles.
Ragland signed with the Detroit Lions for the 2020 season, and he played in every game, with six starts. Last year, Ragland again signed a one-year contract in free agency as he moved to the Giants.
In 75 regular-season games, Ragland has collected 279 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, eight quarterback hits, one interception, four passes defended, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Ragland also has played in six NFL postseason games, including the Chiefs’ 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, Ragland had 31 tackles, one tackle for loss and one interception, which came in the end zone off New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game for the 2019 season.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.