Quarterbacks still in equal competition

It's looking more and more like the JaMarcus Russell saga is going to linger well into the preseason.

Raiders coach Lane Kiffin continues to sound pessimistic regarding talks between the two sides, and Oakland's lead negotiator -- Marc Badain -- spent a good portion of Tuesday watching the team's training camp practice rather than working the phones with Russell's agents.

None of it sounds good for the Raiders, who open the preseason Saturday at home against Arizona.

"I wouldn't use the word close, no," Kiffin said when asked how talks between the two sides were going. "Every day hurts him. Every (missed) practice just puts him that far behind. Here's somebody who's never taken a snap in the league, so every day that he misses hurts his chances."

Russell has remained at his mother's home in Mobile, Ala., while the Raiders go through training camp. Rumors have been flying all over the Internet and media outlets about what the hang-up in talks is, though no one from either side is saying for sure.

Badain, one of a handful of people working on the deal for the Raiders, strolled the sidelines during practice and conferred with team chief executive Amy Trask throughout the afternoon. As he left the field, Badain was approached by reporters but declined to comment.

Without Russell in camp, the Raiders have been alternating Josh McCown and Andrew Walter with the starters. Daunte Culpepper, signed July 31, has spent most of his time with the back-ups, though he remains the favorite to be the starter when the regular season begins.

Kiffin wouldn't reveal which of the three will start Saturday against Arizona, but said he would try to get all of the quarterbacks equal reps. Culpepper, Kiffin said, would be working with a limited package of plays since he is still trying to catch up with the rest of the offense.

"The thought was that we're obviously in a competition at that spot (and) no one of the three has emerged as a clear-cut guy by any means," Kiffin said. "We don't need to have the starter (named) right now so we're going to let them play, and to the best that we can, they'll have equal reps in the game."


SB Report Top Stories