Raiders loaded with QBs
ALAMEDA, Calif. — The questions about JaMarcus Russell's immediate future in Oakland were answered yesterday when he took the field for a minicamp with newly acquired Jason Campbell and the rest of his Raiders teammates.
Still unclear is the long-term future for the former No. 1 overall pick.
The team acquired Campbell in a trade with Washington last weekend. There were reports that Russell could be cut before training camp or held out of the workouts to avoid an injury.
But Russell was out there working with Campbell, Charlie Frye and Kyle Boller as the Raiders had their first formal on-field workout of the offseason.
"My thing is to keep coming out to work until they tell me not too," Russell said. "I'm going to keep coming out to compete for the job and work my tail off."
There were few visible signs about who the leading contender for the starting quarterback job is this season. Bruce Gradkowski, who replaced Russell midway through last season, watched in a sling yesterday after recent surgery for a torn pectoral muscle.
Coach Tom Cable reiterated that it's a five-man competition at quarterback. When the team did its first 11-on-11 drills, it was Frye who took the first snaps, followed by Russell, Campbell and Boller.
"Means nothing," Cable said. "Don't look anything into that. If you do, you're wasting ink. There's nothing to that right now."
Also yesterday, Cable said the team is negotiating a long-term deal with free agent defensive lineman Richard Seymour.
The Raiders placed the exclusive franchise tag designation on Seymour in February. That prohibited him from negotiating with other teams and guaranteed him $12.398 million for the 2010 season.
DE CRAWFORD GETS TRYOUT AT AGE 33
Brandon Crawford isn't your average football player getting a tryout with the New York Giants at a minicamp for rookies and free agents at East Rutherford, N.J.
The former Marine who just finished a four-year career as a defensive end at Ball State is trying to win a job in the NFL — at age 33.
That's about a decade later than either the average draft pick or free agent.
"I have as much chance as everyone else," Crawford said after yesterday morning's workout at the minicamp. "I'm in shape. The body is in good health. I feel great. It's just a matter of me getting out there and executing."
The two-day tryout is somewhat of a long shot. The Giants have about two dozen free agents looking to be signed for training camp. Maybe, four or five will get a contract.
NERVES GET THE BEST OF ROOKIE MCKNIGHT
Welcome to the NFL, rookie.
New York Jets running back Joe McKnight wanted to make his mark in his first rookie minicamp practice yesterday at Florham Park, N.J. This isn't exactly what the fourth-round draft pick had in mind.
McKnight dropped a few passes, vomited on the field and had both calves cramp up.
"I felt a little dehydrated today, and didn't drink a lot water, so now I'm going to start drinking a lot of water and keep myself hydrated," an embarrassed McKnight said. "It was nerves. I was nervous at first, just getting back out, playing football and trying to show what I can do."
McKnight, drafted out of Southern California, felt better as the day's first practice went along and even showed off some slick, elusive moves.
"I thought Joe McKnight looked good," coach Rex Ryan said with a pause and a smile, "when he wasn't throwing up."
SUH IMPRESSIVE AS ROOKIE CAMP OPENS
It's easy to see what the Detroit Lions saw in Ndamukong Suh to make him the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft.
The 6-foot-3 Suh weighs nearly 300 pounds and, unlike most athletes carrying that kind of weight, he doesn't look one bit fat.
"That's one of the reasons we drafted because he's like that," Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said yesterday as the Lions opened a three-day rookie orientation camp in Allen Park, Mich. "He's in great shape."
The former Nebraska standout looked impressive physically — once chasing down a running back to force a fumble — during an afternoon workout in helmets, shorts and cleats.
"He's definitely a freak," first-round running back Jahvid Best said. "I'm glad he's on our side."
Suh sounded good, too.
"I was No. 2 coming out of college. Now, I'm back to ground zero," he said humbly. "So, I've got to build myself back up."
INJURY WON'T STOP QB FAVRE'S RETURN
Brett Favre is still stinging from that painful loss to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC title game three months ago — so much so that it's a factor in his decision to come back to the Vikings next season.
Favre issued a statement on his website yesterday saying that his left ankle is still hurting and will require surgery if he wants to return for Minnesota. But said he's come through worse in a 19-year career built on playing through pain.
"I don't believe major surgery on the ankle would be required for me to return in 2010," Favre wrote. "I've put up with pain worse than this in my career, and I didn't want anyone to assume that the possibility of surgery was the sole factor that would determine whether I return or not."