Holdout Burgess may be seeking trade

Raiders' first-round draft pick Darrius Heyward-Bey still doesn't have a contract and could miss the team's first training camp practice. But that wasn't the biggest news Wednesday, as defensive end Derrick Burgess officially began a holdout in hopes of either getting a new contract or forcing a trade.

On a day when the Raiders players and coaches gathered for a round of meetings in advance of beginning their preseason preparations, the absence of Darrius Heyward-Bey -- the seventh overall draft pick -- became secondary news once head coach Tom Cable revealed two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Derrick Burgess has chosen to stay away from camp.

"He is not here by his choice," Cable said Wednesday, adding he was unsure when or if Burgess would report to camp. "We really haven't talked about a reason and that's really all I'm going to say about it."

Burgess' decision to skip reporting day for the first time since signing with Oakland in 2005 is the latest episode in what has been a growing soap opera between the Raiders and the veteran defensive lineman.

Derrick Burgess may be trying to force a trade.
Getty Images

Burgess has been seeking a new contract with the Raiders for the past few seasons but has been rebuffed in his attempts. He did not take part in the team's off season workouts save for an obligatory appearance at a mini-camp in May. He has not spoken publicly about his contract status since last summer.

Cable declined to talk about details regarding Burgess' absence but when asked who would practice at Burgess' position, the head coach said cryptically "Greg Ellis is the left end."

Does that mean Burgess is no longer in the Raiders' plans? Not necessarily. It wouldn't come as a major surprise to see No. 56 on the practice field soon. But it increasingly appears as if he and his reps are no longer interested in signing an extension in Oakland and instead are more likely wrangling to have Burgess traded.

Stay tuned. The practices haven't even started yet.

Other notes from Wednesday:

-- Heyward-Bey is in the Bay Area and Cable is hopeful a deal with the first-rounder will get done quickly.

"I kind of look at him as here. He's not signed yet, obviously, but he's going to be," Cable said. "I feel good about where that's headed. Darrius and I have spoke. There's progress being made. It's good, it's positive. But it's very important, starting tomorrow, that we get him here and he's able to get all this. He's had it in mni-camp and the OTA but certainly this is valuable. This is real now."

-- Second-year wide receiver Arman Shields failed his physical and was released.

-- Quarterback Danny Southwick was also let go to make room for the newly signed rookies.

-- Stryker Sulak, the sixth-round draft pick who was surprisingly released by the Raiders before even reporting to training camp, is drawing interest from several teams around the NFL. One team to keep an eye on: Cleveland. Browns' linebacker coach Matt Eberflus was Sulak's defensive coordinator at the University of Missouri.

-- Paul McQuistan and Chris Morris will get a big opportunity to prove themselves to the coaching staff with Robert Gallery sidelined after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. Cable said he expects Gallery to be out 2-3 weeks, which should allow McQuistan and Morris plenty of time to make their mark.

Javon Walker's health is still a question mark for the Raiders.
Getty Images

-- WR Javon Walker, who was unable to take part in any of the team's on-field workouts in the off season, may not be able to practice right away.

"We're going to kind of decide that this afternoon and have some discuss ion about what is he capable of and where can we go with that," Cable said.

Discuss this story and more in the Legends Lodge.

Oakland Raiders Top Stories