Cut day looms large for some

It's cutdown day in the NFL on Sunday and that means a long list of players will be walking the unemployment line soon. For the Raiders, that list could include names like running back Terry Kirby, tight end Jeremy Brigham and of course, linebacker Greg Biekert. All three were on the bubble and might be looking for work in less than 24 hours.

The Raiders must cut 18 players by 1 p.m. PDT Sunday, when all NFL teams are to have their rosters down to the 53-player limit. Most of Oakland's moves appear pretty clear cut, with few surprises expected.

Kirby returned kickoffs for the Raiders over the last two seasons but is only fourth on the depth chart at running back. With newcomer Madre Hill continuing to earn the praise of the coaching staff and carrying a vastly smaller paycheck than Kirby, it's quite possible Oakland would be willing to make a change.

''If there was one guy who improved throughout camp, it was Madre,'' said Raiders head coach Bill Callahan. ''Whether he was doing it against the second string, third string or whatever, he did it. He proved he can be a commodity in this league.''

Brigham has been slowed by a knee injury and is still listed as day-to-day. Brigham was already in danger of falling behind Roland Williams and Mondriel Fulcher on the depth chart at tight end before he was injured. Now, as rookie Doug Jolley starts to make his way back into practice, Brigham could be deemed expendable.

Meanwhile, the Biekert saga appears as if it will drag on until the bitter end. All indications are that the Raiders will cut Biekert, who refused to take a $1.5 million pay cut. Biekert has repeatedly said the issue is not about money, though, and more about the way the situation was handled.

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