Lechler injury may force rookie QB into punting

Ronald Curry has gone from being strictly a bystander in practice to now being one of the most worked players in camp. Already splitting time at punt returner and now punter -- thanks to the unknown injury status of Shane Lechler -- the Raiders seventh-round draft choice got his most extensive duty at quarterback during Tuesday's morning practice. It's a good thing, too. Judging by the way things went, Curry is going to need all the work he can get at the position.


            On his first play from scrimmage, Curry threw a pass that was intercepted by fellow rookie Keyon Nash. After handing off to running back Madre Hill on the next play Curry threw an incomplete pass before finally connecting with wide receiver Marcus Knight. Curry still isn't likely to get any playing time in the preseason game against Tennessee and might be hard pressed to play quarterback at all in any of Oakland's preseason games.

            Still, with Lechler an unknown at the time, Curry might get on the field anyway as the Raiders punter.

            ''That's a possibility,'' said head coach Bill Callahan. ''We're not sure where Shane is physically right now.''

            Callahan ruled out using kicker Sebastian Janikowski as a punter.

            NOTES: The Raiders have been pumping crowd noise into their scrimmage drills, not only to prepare the players for the preseason game against Tennessee but also the regular-season games in places like Denver and Kansas City ... Wide receiver James Jett isn't having much of a problem getting open but Oakland's quarterbacks have yet to find their timing with the speedy receiver. Several deep passes have been overthrown, including those from starter Rich Gannon. If Oakland is indeed going to get back to its deep-ball roots, Jett almost certainly will have to be a factor ... Another former Raider paid a visit to camp when two-time Super Bowl winner Jim Plunkett stopped by.



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