Sio Moore fought hard and long to return to Raiders practice on Wednesday.
Now, the Raiders linebacker is facing an even tougher challenge -- regaining his old starting job.
"I think right now he's competing to be a role player somewhere," coach Jack Del Rio told CSN Bay Area's Jimmy Durkin.
No. 55 has simply been too banged up to contribute under this new Raiders regime. Malcolm Smith, who knows the system after years under new defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., figures to supplant Moore.
It's a strange announcement given Moore's obvious skill. He was the third-leading tackler last year despite playing only 11 games. Plus, it's not like this current Raiders defense is flush with playmakers -- a starting-caliber player like Moore would be welcomed elsewhere.
Health is the driving factor here. Moore hasn't been able to show Del Rio and Co. what he can do, so for now, he'll come off the bench.
Said Del Rio: "To try and cram a guy that hasn't played at all in camp into a potential role as a feature player, I think that's a little far-fetched."