Tui time not any closer

The Oakland Raiders signing of quarterback Kerry Collins gives the team a failsafe option but it cannot bode well for Marques Tuiasosopo.

At least as long as the Oakland Raiders keep Rich Gannon.

Collins, whom the New York Giants released after acquiring University of Mississippi quarterback Eli Manning, became a Raider on May 23. Gannon, who was the NFL MVP in 2002, struggled before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in a 17-10 loss against Kansas City in Week 7.

Enter Tuiasosopo, who will be in his fourth season. Tuiasosopo, whom Oakland drafted in the second round from Washington in 2001, replaced Gannon in that game only to sustain a season-ending knee injury in the following game, a 23-13 loss at Detroit. Rick Mirer, who signed as a free agent with Detroit, started every game from that point forward.

Since Oakland's season had been in a freefall that eventually ended with a 4-12 record one year after reaching the Super Bowl, that time seemed like a good one to see what Tuiasosopo could do over an extensive period of time after not playing in his first two seasons. Well, except for a couple of token appearances.

The Raiders are no closer to finding out anything definitive on Tuiasosopo than they were last year since he played, what amounted to one game. At Oakland's minicamp that was held one week after the draft, Tuiasosopo said he has sufficiently recovered.

"It was disappointing but you've got to move on," Tuiasosopo said. "It's a new year. There's new opportunities. It would have been nice to have been able to have it but it didn't happen. I've got to focus on what's next."

Who knows when or if that opportunity comes in a Raiders uniform? That situation would probably hinge on Oakland's decision to keep or release Gannon. The team has been rumored to be releasing the 39-year old Gannon, who has said he would not take a pay cut.

Shortly thereafter, first-year head coach Norv Turner said that Gannon was still the starter. Mind you, Collins is not the second coming of Joe Montana but he has enough experience to where you generally do not acquire a player of his caliber without the intent of making him the starter.

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