Raiders Notebook: Pre-camp edition

One Raiders is already showing the winning tradition. Another feels great about a teammate that has been labeled controversial. There is no truth to the rumors of Oakland pursuing one free agent. John Madden still shows love for Al Davis. Another reclamation project is underway.

Center Chris Morris, a rookie seventh-round draft pick out of Michigan State, won a one-year lease on a hummer for winning the Ultimate Rookie Challenge at the annual rookie symposium.

The competition is run like a game show in which players answer questions on life skills they've been taught during the meeting, which runs from Sunday through Wednesday at a resort in Carlsbad, Calif.

The Raiders also won the team competition, earning their rookies free cell phone service for a year.

Left tackle Robert Gallery, in Iowa City helping with a youth clinic run by former teammate Nate Kaeding, told reporters he enjoyed playing with Randy Moss.

"He's a good guy. I think the media blew it out of proportion in Minnesota," Gallery said. "I couldn't say a bad thing about the guy. He's all business when it comes to football. He didn't miss a day or a rep in camp last year. He's in it to win it. He's a competitor, and he's been good for our team. He's called guys out and gotten them to step up to the next level. I think he's one of our team leaders. He keeps everybody motivated, keeps it fun, and wants to win."

While reports in recent weeks hinted veteran linebacker Junior Seau and ex-Raider nose tackle Grady Jackson were free agents on the club's radar screen, a club official said nothing is going on with either man.

Jackson, who was supposedly going to visit the Raiders, never visited and doesn't have one scheduled, the official said.

In a national conference call regarding his entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, former Raiders coach John Madden made it clear why Al Davis was his choice to introduce him at the induction ceremony.

"Al Davis has been the biggest influence in my professional life," Madden said. "I mean, he was the guy who gave me an opportunity, one, to get into professional football in 1967 as an assistant coach, then at the age of 32, giving me the opportunity to be the head coach. That was something very special. I mea, there weren't a lot of people that thought John Madden, the linebacker coach, was going to be the head coach of the Raiders. Al believed in me, then gave me the opportunity.

"During the time, the 10 years I was the head coach, he gave me everything. I was never turned down for one thing that I ever wanted for football by Al Davis."

The Raiders, watching from the sidelines through most of the off-season with the exception of quarterback Aaron Brooks and defensive end Lance Johnstone, reached out with one of their classic reclamation picks with the signing of defensive tackle Donnell Washington.

A third-round draft pick by Green Bay out of Clemson in 2004, Washington, 6-feet-6 and 328 pounds, never panned out with the Packers. He was waived June 10 after missing his rookie season with a foot injury and being on the inactive list for 15 games last season.

The Raiders hope Washington can resurrect enough of his college promise to join Terdell Sands and Tommy Kelly as potential run-stuffers in the middle of the defensive line as part of a rotation that includes Warren Sapp.

If not, the Raiders wasted nothing but a minimum wage contract.


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