|Negotiations continue but NFL's No. 1 overall pick stays at home|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 26 July 2007 16:15|
NAPA, Calif. (AP) -JaMarcus Russell, the No. 1 overall pick in last April's NFL draft, remains without a contract and was the most notable no-show when the Raiders reported to training camp on Thursday.|
Coach Lane Kiffin refused to call Russell a holdout but acknowledged the rookie quarterback was not even in California. Instead, the 6-foot-6, 260-pound Russell remained 2,400 miles away at his home in Mobile, Ala.
``We're moving along very quickly but at the same time we're doing things in the best interest for our future as well,'' Kiffin said. ``We don't have anything mandatory till (Friday) morning, so as far as guys being here, they're all showing up at different times.''
Russell and second-round pick Zach Miller are they only draft picks who remained unsigned and did not report to the Raiders' training camp headquarters. Oakland did sign a pair of third-round picks Thursday: defensive end Quentin Moses of Georgia and receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins from Texas-El Paso.
``We're making a lot of progress right now with all of them and extremely close on some,'' Kiffin said. ``But we are expecting everybody to be in camp. We'd like everybody to be here (Friday) when we start practicing.''
Talks between the Raiders, Russell and his agent, Eric Metz, have been ongoing for weeks but the sides have yet to strike an agreement. Russell is said to be seeking a deal worth $60 million. Last year's No. 1 overall pick, defensive end Mario Williams of the Houston Texans, signed a six-year, $54 million deal that included $26.5 million in guaranteed money.
The deal is so complex that the Raiders have had as many as six people in their front office working on the contract.
Kiffin, who spoke with Russell by phone on Wednesday, characterized negotiations between the sides as ``extremely well'' but would not say when he expected Russell to report to camp. The first-year head coach said the Raiders don't have their first mandatory meeting until 7 a.m. Friday.
``We have a lot of time,'' Kiffin said. ``He may not be here. We'll deal with it at the time and coach the players that are here. As soon as we get him we'll get him going. We hope that will be (Friday). If it were up to him, in a way, I know he'd be here.''
Earlier in the day the Raiders announced they cut tight end Courtney Anderson and signed defensive end Bill Swancutt.
Anderson, a seventh-round pick out of San Jose State in 2004, started 24 games the past two seasons, making 49 catches for 588 yards and five touchdowns. He split time last season with converted wide receiver Randal Williams and was not expected to start this year.
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