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Day 13: Missing the unkindest cut of all

NFL writer Jerry McDonald

Posted by NFL Editor and ANG football writer Jerry McDonald
Ryan Riddle got cut Thursday but he avoided getting released.

There were laughs all around when Riddle emerged from the field house on the Raiders practice field with a hideous haircut provided at no charge to rookies each year at training camp, courtesy of some all-to-willing veterans.

About an hour earlier, there were gasps all around when Riddle was involved in a collision with Randy Moss during a drill. Moss leaped high, fell awkwardly, and buckled to the ground in a position that looked as if injury could result.

Surely, there were those on the Raiders sideline whose minds flashed to the worst possible scenario – anterior cruciate ligament, broken ankle . . .

Moss got up slowly and rejoined the huddle. He was fine.

Riddle, a sixth-round draft pick from Cal, was temporarily banished from the field and lectured in strong terms about how to properly execute a simple drill.

“They gave me some stuff for it,” Riddle said. “They said, `Be smart, watch out, you know?’ I tried to stop and fell, and I made it worse by falling into him. I understand what they’re saying.”

Coach Norv Turner was able to laugh about it after practice. “Got quiet, didn’t it?,” Turner said. “Quiet, then loud.”

Turner said the drill was designed to give offensive players a look at a specific San Francisco 49ers defense.

“You want to play close coverage and then lay off at the end,” Turner said. “Young guys have to learn to handle that.”

Riddle’s new hairstyle has chunks of hair missing down to the scalp with curly locks left in random spots.

“It’s contagious,” Riddle warned fans lining the autograph fence.

Third-year linebacker Sam Williams was one of the barbers.

“I wasn’t planning on doing anybody, but Justin Fargas needed a hand and I put my artistic touch on it,” Williams said. “I was going for abstract.”

Williams said he was bald on one side and had hair on the other as a rookie, courtesy of Lincoln Kennedy.

Rookie lineman Pete McMahon was given a Mohawk – which had spaces missing, while defensive tackle Antaj Hawthorne was given sort of a modified Mr. T that looked something like a University of Michigan football helmet.

Rookie linebacker Kirk Morrison wears his hair extremely short, but the barbers found a way around the problem.

“They put a lot of time and effort into his,” Williams said. “He had a couple of area codes in there.”

Hits And Misses

  • Perhaps rattled by the near disaster with Moss, Riddle, playing at inside linebacker, was beaten on a slant down the middle by Teyo Johnson.
  • Turner was not pleased with the Raiders pace on offense, imploring the No. 1 unit to get in and out of the huddle quicker.
  • With the Raiders doing some work preparing for a specific opponent, No. 4 quarterback David Rivers got his most extensive work of training camp. However, the rotation for the 49ers game should stop at three – Kerry Collins, Marques Tuiasosopo and rookie Andrew Walter.
  • If the Raiders are impressed enough with rookie defensive tackle Antaj Hawthorne – and Turner has sung his praises – free agent signee Ed Jasper may face long odds on making the roster. Jasper was playing on scout team defense Thursday.
  • Although listed as a linebacker, DeLawrence Grant was playing as an end with his hand on the ground in both the nickel and dime defenses. (five minutes) one guy, two Fargas and Sam Williams
  • Randal Williams, primarily a special teams player at Dallas, continues to make an excellent impression while getting plenty of reps because of the limited action of Ronald Curry and the hamstring injuries to Jerry Porter and Carlos Francis. Curry, Porter and Francis will not play against San Francisco.

    Back In Town
    Running back LaMont Jordan didn’t want to disclose the identity of a family member whose funeral he attended, but conceded it has been a rough two days.

    “You have your moments when you’re laughing, joking and playing around and then you have your moments when you sit back and reflect, and those times where you feel like breaking down in tears,” Jordan said. “But I also know I have a job to do.”

    After getting lots of preseason work with the Jets as the backup to Curtis Martin, Jordan is looking forward to getting a few carries and taking the rest of the night off against San Francisco.

    “I’m used to playing two and three quarters every preseason game except the last one,” Jordan said. “To go out there, get a few plays, then get out, that will be nice.”

    Jordan said he is in good physical shape but still working into what he calls “football shape,” expecting everything to come together by the third preseason game against Arizona.

    That game is also special because it will be his first before the home fans at McAfee Coliseum.

    “When I was in New York I had some of my best games in that stadium so I think the fans have an idea what I’m capable of doing,” Jordan said. “When I was with the Jets I told people you have never been to a football game until you’ve been to Oakland.”

    Final Preparations
    The Raiders will have only a brief walkthrough this morning, their last practice before the preseason opener in San Francisco.

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    Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer