With an eye on the temperature gauge and the other on his team, Art Shell's first training camp back as head coach of the Raiders kicked off Monday as players and staff filed into the Marriott Hotel in Napa.
With the exception of running back LaMont Jordan, who was excused to attend a funeral, everyone reported on time. Randy Moss laughed and shook hands with fellow wideouts Doug Gabriel and Jerry Porter. Nearby, Warren Sapp chatted amicably with reporters before checking in.
Even first-round draft pick Michael Huff was on hand, though he had yet to officially sign a contract with the team. Huff and the Raiders reached agreement on a reported five-year deal worth $22.5 million and the former Texas defensive back was expected to sign the contract later Monday.
''As soon as I was drafted I told my agent that I wanted to be here (and) set a good example,'' Huff said. ''The last game I played in was the Rose Bowl so I'm ready to play.''
The Raiders won't hold their first practice until Tuesday, the first of 21 days the team will work out at the training camp facilities. Eager to get a jump on things, Shell mapped out the team's entire work schedule prior to heading to Napa but acknowledged he might have to change plans with temperatures in Northern California hovering in the 100s.
''We've been monitoring the weather since I got up here (Sunday),'' Shell said. ''It's been warm and there are certain guidelines that we use in order to decide what to do about the weather. So far, we look pretty good for tomorrow.''
Two players who won't be on the field for the first practice are Robert Gallery and Ronald Curry, both of whom were placed on the physically unable to perform list. Gallery, who is making the move back to left tackle after playing on the right side his first two seasons in the NFL, strained a quad muscle working out last week while Curry is still recovering from an Achilles injury.
''I take my lead from the trainer,'' Shell said. ''If the trainer says we're going to take it easy initially then that's what we're going to do.''
Shell planned to address the team en masse Monday evening and said he was eager to get the season started.
''There's a lot of things that you want to get accomplished as you move forward,'' Shell said. ''I want to make sure our football team understands what it takes to win. I want to make sure our football team understands that we're going to have to play 60 minutes during the course of every game, we've got to work hard and it doesn't come easy. Training camp is not easy. Football is not easy. You're going to hurt, you're going to get tired, you're going to be out on the field sometimes and say to yourself, 'Why the hell am I out here?' You're going to start thinking, if you're a player or have a family, (about) those crumb-snatchers that are home, you've got to take care of them. That's why you're there. So there are a lot of little things that I am concerned about but they are things that are normal in the world of football.''
Training Camp Notes
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