Raiders must not be totally convinced

It's usually never safe to draw conclusions about any course of action the Oakland Raiders take but their "interest" in quarterback Kerry Collins shows they are clearly not confident about Rich Gannon's situation.

Unless, of course, Collins is willing to become a backup. More likely, however, the Oakland Raiders might not be fully convinced that Gannon can rediscover his 2002 NFL MVP form after sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury he sustained in a Week 7 loss to Kansas City.

The 31-year old Collins became expendable when his former team, the New York Giants, drafted North Carolina State's Phillip Rivers before trading him to acquire Mississippi's Eli Manning. The Giants then released Collins, who visited the Oakland Raiders facility Wednesday.

The Raiders appear willing to give the 39-year old Gannon every opportunity to prove he is healthy. Gannon had a solid minicamp but that's not a scenario where one can draw conclusions.

Oakland, however, would like to restructure Gannon's contract that calls for a $7 million dollar figure in 2004 but Gannon has been adamant that he would not accept a cut in pay.

After four glorious years, Gannon, like most of his teammates, clearly never recovered from Tampa Bay blowing its doors off in Super Bowl XXXVII. Collins was the Carolina Panthers first-round draft choice in 1995. He played a half-season in New Orleans before going to the Giants.

Collins has been like a stock market quarterback his entire career. He looks great at times and brain-dead at others. Despite a few productive seasons, Collins has thrown more career interceptions (134) than touchdowns (132).

Even if Gannon is healthy, history is not on his side. John Elway led the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl championship at age 38 and Joe Montana led the Kansas City Chiefs to the AFC Championship at age 37 but those are the exceptions, not the rule.

All the more the Raiders are interested in Collins.

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