So the big news coming from the first day of practice at Raiders training camp in Napa was that first-round draft pick Darrius Heyward-Bey has agreed to a five-year contract that guarantees the No. 7 overall pick and receiver from Maryland $23.5 million.
He is expected to be at Friday's morning practice and the Raiders themselves greeted the news with relief.
"He'll be all right," said second-year receiver Chaz Schillens. "We'll catch him up and get him up to speediIt's important to be here, that's for sure. You need every single practice you can get when you're a rookie. We'll have to catch him up."
Added team captain and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha: "It's big because we want him to be a big part of the offense. Everybody was waiting on him to come in. I think that's great that he signed.
"(Missing a lot of time) can hurt your development as a player. When you're coming into training camp as a rookie you have to be there to see how it goes. You have to get into a groove. In 2007 that didn't happen (with JaMarcus). That's good to get it out of the way now. He only missed one practice. It's good for him."
Russell agreed: "Since he's been there during all the minicamps he should have a pace on things. The way we're working, at the pace we're going now, since we have a lot of young guys, the way coach is preparing in practice, he should fit right in."
When Heyward-Bey reports, the Raiders will have to cut a player to make room on their 80-man training camp roster. The smart money is on beleaguered back-up quarterback Andrew Walter hitting the bricks.