Raiders buzz: Feeling better

LaMont Jordan could be back soon - although his estimates of when his injury occurred has led to more concern. Aaron Brooks is on the mend but understands the team may not insert him back into the lineup.

Quarterback Aaron Brooks, out since Week 2 with a torn pectoral muscle, is making no claim to the starting job when he returns.

Brooks said he is making steady progress but could not give a specific date of return other than "very soon."

Shell has stopped short of naming Walter the starter for the remainder of the season. Given Walter's status as the quarterback of the future and the Raiders already with a 1-5 record, speculation is Brooks will not return as the starter even when healthy.

"Coach is the coach," Brooks said. "He's the final decision-maker. If that's his word, then that's what I'm going to go with. I came here to help this team win football games. Hopefully, they'll utilize me to the best of my abilities so I'll just continue to wait until it's my time to get on the field and let the coach make a decision."

The back trouble that sidelined LaMont Jordan against Arizona apparently was not a new development.

"This isn't something new," Jordan said. "It's definitely unfortunate. Hopefully we can get this thing right and I'll be able to get out there. It's a situation where I got kind of folded up the wrong way."

Jordan said he believes he originally was injured in the season opener against San Diego.

"It's just a matter of being something I have to deal with," Jordan said.

Defensive end Derrick Burgess, the reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week after getting two sacks, three hurries and a deflection that resulted in an interception, wasn't putting too much stock in Oakland's No. 1 ranking in pass defense (140.5 yards per game).

"That's not a good gauge. It's good to hear, because it says what it says, but if you actually look at it, half the season we've been getting the ball on our side of the field," Burgess said. "It hasn't been along field for them to work with. You have to look at the points we gave up and the yards we gave up running. All of that combined."

Wide receiver Jerry Porter was reinstated to the Raiders in a settlement reached between the management council and the NFL Player's Association. His suspension was reduced from four to two weeks, which will cost him $117,647 for two game checks.

Porter did not arrive Wednesday, and a team spokesman said he was expected to rejoin the team Thursday.

Coach Art Shell, who handed down the original four-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, citing insubordination, was willing to accept the ruling.

"I'm ready to move on," Shell said. "We're getting ready for a big game against Pittsburgh, and we don't need any of this flying around. We've got to put our concentration on the Steelers."

At least two of Porter's teammates were happy to hear he'd be back soon. "He comes to work every day. He hasn't done anything wrong," Cooper said. "You don't punish somebody for not doing anything wrong."

Said defensive tackle Warren Sapp: "Any time you get in a situation where you're taking food off a man's table, it's always good when you get some of it back. But I mean, why not all of it back. It wasn't something that's never been done on a football field before, or anything that was egregious. But hey, I just play here."

Rookie linebacker Thomas Howard insisted he was merely shaking his hand in a "no, no" gesture that happened to be near his throat. Coach Art Shell thought otherwise, and had no problem with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty Howard received against Arizona.

"He just doesn't understand the rule," Shell said. "After one other play, he almost snatched his helmet off. You can't do that, either. When they see (the throat slash), he may get a letter from the league."

Howard said he hadn't received a letter indicating a fine on Wednesday.


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