ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -With starting receiver Javon Walker slowed by a slightly pulled hamstring this week, newly acquired Ashley Lelie better be a quick study of his new offense because he might be counted on heavily in the season opener against Denver.
Lelie participated in his first practice with the Raiders on Wednesday, but had already begun the crash course in learning the Oakland system. Lelie had a bit of a headstart once he got the playbook, having spent a year with Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp in Atlanta.
``Once I started going through it, I could kind of feel that the terms started to come back to me,'' Lelie said. ``Just have to kind of shift it in my head. The kind of terminology around the league, it's similar, the stuff they talk about. So it wasn't that bad.''
The Raiders might need to rely on Lelie more than they'd like for a new player because of Walker's injury. Walker first hurt the hamstring on Sunday and was limited in practice Wednesday. Coach Lane Kiffin said he'd be questionable for Monday night's opener against the Broncos.
Walker was unavailable for comment, but earlier in the week he talked about how much he was looking forward to opening his Raiders career against his former team.
Walker grew frustrated with his role by the end of his time Denver and was ultimately released in February when the team decided not to pay him a $5.4 million option bonus. Walker sent Kiffin a text message as soon as the schedule was released and his former teammates have the same sort of excitement.
Cornerback Karl Paymah is especially looking forward to being able to hit Walker in a game after having to take it lightly in practice.
``It's going to be a little bit easier now that I can go all out against him. When you're practicing, you kind of had to lay off him a little bit because he's Javon,'' Paymah said. ``Now just be physical, take him out of his game. Go all out. ... Javon knows we couldn't really touch him. He's kind of like pampered and stuff. He's not going to be pampered no more. If he's on my side or Champ's side we're coming after you.''
Lelie knows what Walker is feeling as a former first-round pick by the Broncos. Lelie had his best success in the NFL in Denver, catching 54 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in 2004. Lelie had a bitter departure in Denver, demanding a trade in 2006 because he felt the Broncos weren't making use of his skills.
``I'd be lying to you if I didn't say I had something else extra in the tank for Denver,'' he said. ``It'll be a fun game. I know a lot of the guys, played with Champ (Bailey) my whole career there. It'll be a fun game.''
He spent one disappointing year in Atlanta after the trade before signing with San Francisco last season. Lelie had just 10 receptions for 115 yards for the 49ers last season while struggling with injuries including a strained quadriceps.
Lelie was slowed in training camp this year by a calf injury before being released by San Francisco. He said being healthy again is the key to getting back to the level he was at in 2004.
``When you kind of stop making plays, then the league keeps going and forgets about you,'' he said. ``So this will be a prime example Monday night, to kind of showcase what I can do, and what I can do to help the team.''
The Raiders need help at receiver because there is little experience behind Walker and Ronald Curry. Backups Johnnie Lee Higgins, Todd Watkins and Chaz Schilens have combined for six career receptions, all by Higgins last year, and come into the season as big question marks.
Lelie has 206 receptions in six NFL seasons and could give JaMarcus Russell a deep-play option if he proves he is healthy.
``We'll give him opportunities,'' Kiffin said. ``We already met with him yesterday and we'll continue to do that with him. He seems to be picking up things pretty well. He seems to be very aware. Some of the terminology is the same from when he was in Atlanta with Knapp so that helps him as well.''
Notes: The Raiders also had WR Chad Jackson in for a workout this week. ... Oakland signed FB Luke Lawton, who had four catches in the final preseason game. He will serve as the backup to Justin Griffith. ... To make room on the roster, the team waived-injured LB Robert Thomas. ... Oakland also signed DL Derrick Gray to practice squad and released P Glenn Pakulak.
AP Sports Writer Pat Graham in Englewood, Colo., contributed to this report.
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