ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -While coach Lane Kiffin tries to keep the identity of the Oakland Raiders' starting quarterback secret, owner Al Davis piped in Thursday with his own opinion of who should take the first snap Sunday against Detroit.
``Should be? He may be in Mobile,'' Davis said, referring to the hometown of No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell, before heading out to watch practice.
It's clear the starter won't be Russell, who remains out in a dispute over how much of his contract should be guaranteed. Although USA Today quoted Russell's uncle Thursday as saying a contract was ``almost done,'' the Raiders say nothing is close at this point.
``I wouldn't really pay attention to what someone's uncle said about the negotiation process,'' Kiffin said. ``I know our people are dealing with JaMarcus' agents. And like I said before, there is some progress being made.''
Russell's agent, Eric Metz, has not publicly commented on the talks.
With Russell out, the quarterback race has been between Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper. Kiffin has refused to publicly identify his starter, hoping to gain a competitive advantage by forcing the Lions to prepare for two quarterbacks.
But it appears clear that McCown will be the starter because he has been getting the majority of snaps with the first-team offense in practice this week. How long that lasts remains to be seen.
Russell's absence is the longest for a top pick since Bo Jackson sat out the entire 1986 season after being drafted first overall by Tampa Bay. Jackson chose to play baseball instead, and that contract dispute worked out well for the Raiders.
Jackson went back into the draft the following year and Davis took a chance by using a seventh-round pick on the running back. Jackson joined the Raiders for the second half of the 1987 season and ran for 2,782 yards and 16 touchdowns before a hip injury in a playoff game in January 1991 ended his football career.

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