Porter, Curry happy, healthy and ready

Jerry Porter has been one of the most vocal supporters of Lane Kiffin, often comparing the NFL's youngest head coach to Jon Gruden with a glowing admiration. Kiffin, too, fancies himself a fan of Porter's and for good reason.

Unlike a year ago, when Porter dropped into the abyss after feuding with then-head coach Art Shell and caught just one pass for 19 yards in one of the most bizarre sideshows this franchise has ever seen, the enigmatic wide receiver was nothing short of an altar boy in Kiffin's first offseason.

Porter attended all but two of the Raiders offseason workouts and mini-camp practices, both times for family reasons, sprinted downfield with a newfound enthusiasm in drills and playfully showed off his chiseled physique as evidence of his new-found happiness.

"He's really working hard," Kiffin said. "We have a long ways to go but we couldn't ask more of what he's doing right now. He's here early, he's staying late. He's working hard. He looks like he's out here trying to win a spot, and he is."

A happy and productive Porter would make life a lot easier on Oakland's offense. With Randy Moss gone and a host of new faces behind him on the depth chart, Porter's time to step into the top-dog role with the Raiders is now.

Having a healthy Ronald Curry will help. Curry, like Porter, inexplicably spent far too much on the sideline last season —while Alvis Whitted amazingly started all 16 games. Despite the circumstances, Curry somehow managed to grab 62 passes for 727 yards and one touchdown.

Three years ago Porter and Curry combined for 114 catches, 1,667 yards and 15 touchdowns so the potential is there. With Travis Taylor, Doug Gabriel and Mike Williams, there is also depth the likes Oakland hasn't had for years.

Kiffin did make an attempt to lure Keyshawn Johnson into the fold, drawing on their common USC bloodlines, but Johnson declined.

S&BI's analysis: It's tough to imagine a team being better without Randy Moss but there's no arguing how much more optimistic the outlook is for Oakland's receivers heading into training camp. Porter, Curry and Taylor should give team fits if there's time to throw, and Williams could really open things up if he can stay healthy and find a focus. No matter how you dice it, it's a cut above 2006.


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