Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

August 2, 2008
Javon Walker wanted to retire?

NAPA - ESPN.com reported Javon Walker wanted to retire but Raiders owner Al Davis talked him out of it.

Why?

The Raiders were reportedly offered a way out of their riskiest signing of free agency and get their money back and they said no?

Walker signed a six year, $55 million deal with the Raiders in the offseason. He was coming off his second knee surgery in three years and received $11 million in a signing bonus.

But Walker has hardly looked the part of a star wideout in training camp. Today might have been his worst practice.

He couldn't get open, even with undrafted rookies covering him.

By time the story broke, Walker had already left the locker room, as had head coach Lane Kiffin.

Walker was robbed, beaten and left unconscious in Las Vegas in June with injuries the team said wouldn't impact his play.

But if that and a tough go at it in training camp have impacted Walker to the point he wants to retire, the Raiders should let him go.

Quitters don't do well in locker rooms and his teammates aren't likely to take kindly to the news Walker wanted out.

They won't trust him and anytime he struggles, there will be questions about his desire.

This might have been a one-day deal and Walker might not feel that way anymore.

He better clear this up soon.

Russell elbow update

JaMarcus Russell participated in the team practice session this morning. He's not 100 percent, but able to compete.

"He feels it a little bit," Kififn said. "He doesn't want to push it and there's no reason for it now. As I said yesterday, you guys notice it because of what you're used to with him.

"But he still throws. ... He can function right now in a game. He just doesn't have what he normally has. We don't anticipate that being an issue at all."

Kiffin is pleased with Russell's progress in understanding the mental part of playing quarterback.

He knows Russell can throw the ball. Kiffin just wants to make sure he's making the best decisions.

"You saw a bunch of (good decisiosn) today in 7-on-7 red zone which is hard to do because there's the touchdowns," Kiffin said. "You see that little window and you want to stick it in there and you want to throw a touchdown to the guy. That's the hardest place to be a disciplined quarterback."

Who needs the offseason?

Nnamdi Asomugha picked off a Russell pass today, continuing his impressive showing during training camp.

He surprised many by showing up on time for camp and not holding out in protest of being the team's franchise player and not agreeing to a new contract.

"He's made so many plays, more than anybody else, maybe everybody else
combined in the passing game," Kiffin said.

Kiffin attributes Asomugha's study habits for his penchant of picking off passes in practice along with his skill.

Part of that is he does know our offense, he knows our audibles," Kiffin said. "He studies really hard. That's part of that.
He's come out and hasn't missed a beat. It doesn't say much for really
needing minicamps and OTA days really."

Asomugha had good coverage on a pass to Johnnie Lee Higgins, which elicited some heckling from safety Jarrod Cooper.

"Johnnie Lee don't be scared of Nnamdi," Cooper said. "He wasn't even here this offseason."

But that hasn't mattered.

Something new

The Raiders put the players through a "long drive period" to test their stamina.

It's not a bad idea and several players were seen looking fatigued.

"I didn't let the coaches pull guys out, so they had to stay in there for 10 plays," Kiffin said. "As you saw we tried to push the tempo as fast as we could, we were getting plays off in 35 seconds."

Injury update

WR Arman Shields (knee) did not practice. LB Grant Irons (hamstring) and DT Gerard Warren (thigh) also remain out.


--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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