|McCown starts opener for Raiders, Russell remains unsigned|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 09 September 2007 10:15|
Coach Lane Kiffin refused to announce whether McCown or Daunte Culpepper would start at quarterback in the opener, hoping to gain a competitive advantage by making the Lions prepare for both quarterbacks. With McCown getting the majority of snaps with the first team in practice this week, it became clear he would start.
This was McCown's 23rd career start and first since the end of the 2005 season, when he was with the Arizona Cardinals. McCown spent last year as the backup to Jon Kitna in Detroit, catching more passes than he threw.
Given a chance to play receiver late in the season for the banged-up Lions, McCown caught two passes. He didn't take a single snap at quarterback all season.
As expected, the Raiders were also without No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell, who remains unsigned in a contract dispute. The two sides met Friday and Saturday in the Bay Area, but were unable to bridge the gap that centered mostly on the amount of guaranteed money Russell will receive.
Russell is believed to be seeking about $31 million in guarantees, which would be a record for a rookie. The Lions gave No. 2 pick Calvin Johnson $27.2 million in guaranteed money this year.
Even if the sides do reach a deal soon, it's unlikely Russell will be able to contribute much to the Raiders this season. Playing quarterback as a rookie in the NFL is difficult and Russell will have missed all of training camp and the exhibition season.
The last first-round pick not to be signed by the season opener was offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie, who missed the first eight games in 2002 after being selected with the seventh overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings.
It's been more than two decades since the top pick missed a game. 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 owner Al 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.
Kiffin also refused to divulge his starting center. But former Pro Bowler Jeremy Newberry got the nod over last year's starter Jake Grove.
Receiver Travis Taylor was a surprise scratch from the Raiders' lineup. Cornerback Duane Starks (groin) was also inactive for the game.
Detroit running back Kevin Jones, recovering broke a bone in his left foot, was inactive for the Lions, as expected.