Raiders open camp but will Gannon be there?

While the Raiders are apparently contemplating making an offer to free agent defensive tackle Sam Adams, a more pressing concern might be whether or not quarterback Rich Gannon will be present when the team opens its second offseason voluntary camp today in Oakland.

Gannon did not participate in the team's first camp last month, reportedly at odds with management over a contract dispute. Gannon, who is scheduled to make $2 million in 2002 but could earn as much as $15 million over the following three years, is said to be seeking to renegotiate the deal in hopes of getting more money up front.

While senior assistant Bruce Allen dismissed Gannon's absence from the April mini-camp with a wave of his hand, head coach Bill Callahan was a bit more concerned. Beginning his first season as an NFL head coach and having to replace a very popular predecessor in Jon Gruden, Callahan doesn't need a standoff with his quarterback with training camp only two months away.

It doesn't help the Raiders case that they have no real established back-up to run the offense should Gannon continue to stay away from Alameda. Marques Tuiasosopo took most of the snaps with the starters during the April mini-camp but has yet to play more than a few mop-up minutes in a regular season game. Tuiasosopo is only in his second year and would probably be slotted at No. 3 were it not for Bobby Hoying's elbow problems.

Hoying underwent surgery toward the end of the 2001 season after injuring it in a freak mishap while throwing a football. He sat out the first mini-camp and isn't expected to do much more the watch when the Raiders open their three-day mini-camp today. Rick Mirer hasn't panned out thus far in his NFL career and was signed as an emergency. And Ronald Curry, the only other quarterback on Oakland's roster, is still trying to make heads of an NFL playbook.

So Gannon holds all the cards. He could put them down and join his teammates for the workouts today or he could keep them close to his vest and force the Raiders to ante up. It will be interesting to see which side has the best poker face.

Meanwhile, two websites are reporting the Raiders apparent interest in signing Adams to shore up the middle of a depleted interior defensive line. The team lost both starters from last year's team and key backup Roderick Coleman is recovering from offseason surgery.

The Raiders courted Adams previously before he landed in Baltimore, where he helped the Ravens win their first Super Bowl title in 2000.


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