Biekert relishes possible final game with Oakland

In what may have been his last NFL game in a Raider uniform, middle linebacker Greg Beikert spent the majority of his evening watching and soaking in all the memories he could. Facing the distinct possibility of being among 18 players Oakland must release by Sunday's NFL cut deadline, Biekert relished the team's 31-3 win over Arizona as more than just the preseason finale.

The 10th-year veteran played in the opening series of the game, making tackles on Arizona's first two offensive plays. On the first Biekert had to come clear across the field to make a tackle on an end-around that Arizona's MarTay Jenkins ran for a gain of nine of the Cardinals' first play.

When the Raiders came out for its second defensive stand in the first quarter, Biekert was the lone starter not among those on the field. Instead he paced quietly on the sidelines, a white baseball cap resting backward on his head.

After holding the Cardinals to a three-and-out, Oakland's defense came off the field and took its customary position on the far left bench behind the Raiders sidelines. While the defensive coaches went over film and corrections with the players, Biekert stood poignantly alone some 20 feet away. At one point a lone Raider fan standing at the edge of the stands thrust his fist into the air nd yelled, grabbing Biekert's attention. The linebacker stopped and turned, flashed a thumb's up and smiled.

Later, as the game wound through, Biekert chatted with teammates and then paused underneath the bleachers to speak with reporters while fans serenaded him with chants of ''Biekert, Biekert, Biekert.''

''If this is it for me with the Oakland Raiders, I enjoyed it to the very end with my teammates,'' said Biekert, whose name drew the loudest cheers from the sparse crowd of 35,738 during pre-game introductions. ''These are great fans and I love them to death. It was awesome and I appreciated it a lot.''

What Biekert hasn't appreciated is the way his dealings with the Raiders have come about. Last week he was approached by management and told, in essence, that he must either take a $1.5 million cut in pay or be released. Biekert refused the ultimatum and asked the team to release him from his deal. Oakland is also reportedly eager to increase the role of rookie linebacker Napoleon Harris, who has been Biekert's primary back-up throughout the preseason.

''They gave me a choice and I gave them my choice,'' Biekert said. ''They know where I stand. I still feel like I can play in this league and play at a high level. If I can't do that, I'd be more than willing to take over a role as a back-up.

''It's not an issue of money. If it comes down to it, my choice is to make a lot less money somewhere else based on my performance. Right now I'm an Oakland Raider until they tell me different and kick me out.''


Rookie tight end Doug Jolley hasn't had the type of indoctrination to the NFL that he expected, but the Raiders' second-round draft pick at least ended the preseason better than he started.

Jolley, who was beset by a groin strain that forced him to miss most of training camp while he rehabbed in the pool of the Marriott Hotel in Napa, caught two passes for 11 yards and had one for the photo album. Working with the third-string offense in the third quarter, Jolley made a diving catch to haul in a five-yard scoring pass from quarterback Rick Mirer to help boost Oakland's lead at the time to 17-3.

With backup tight end Jeremy Brigham sidelined by a knee injury and with starter Roland Williams still a questionable receiver, Jolley could conceivably play a big role in the Raiders offense in the coming months.

''I was out of shape and my pass routes were rusty but it was nice,'' said Jolley. ''It's been hard for me because I only missed three practices in five years at BYU. I got a lot of flak in training camp. I got the Mr. Cold Tub award.''

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