By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 6:03 pm in Oakland Raiders.
As the Raiders gradually arrived to the Napa Marriott Tuesday, it appeared everyone from the draft class was accounted for except for wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, the No. 7 overall selection.
Word had already leaked on tight end Brandon Myers (sixth round), defensive end Matt Shaughnessy (third round) and safety Mike Mitchell (second round). With Stryker Sulak waived before having been offered a contract, that left linebacker Slade Norris and wide receiver Louis Murphy, both fourth-round draft picks.
Norris was spotted arriving with Shaughnessy, and Murphy came later in the day, confirming near a stairwell he had signed his contract in Alameda.
“It’s like a monkey off my back,” Murphy said. “I’m glad to be an Oakland Raider.”
The Raiders have confirmed none of the signings, nor have they announced any of the players which will be cut to to get to the roster limit of 80. Coach Tom Cable should clear some of that up today when he meets with the media at noon.
Update: Agent Drew Rosenhaus is reporting on his Twitter account Murphy signed a four-year contract.
Players will continue to arrive throughout the evening, and we’ll leave that up to Cable to tell us who did or didn’t show up on time.
Some notes and quotes from reporting day:
– Fullback Oren O’Neal believes he’ll be practicing once a day and said he is running and cutting at full speed. He said no one has said anything about going on the Physically Unable to Perform list or being limited in practice.
“(I’ve been able to do) everything. Cut, run, jump, hit the sled, everything that you can do without the pads,” O’Neal said. “The only thing I haven’t been able to do is, I haven’t been with a full-team activity and taking on blockers, but everything else, I have been able to do with no problem.”
Still, you never know. No one was more surprised than Ronald Curry in 2006 when the Raiders decided he wasn’t physically ready to practice. They held him out without ever telling him why, and in retrospect it was the right move. Curry was coming off two ACL tears and the cautious approach was the right one.
– Michael Huff understands this is a hugely important training camp if he hopes to remain a Raider.
“Every year you’re fighting for a job but I guess this year is different, especially the way last year year ended and you never know the uncertainty of being here as far as training camp,” Huff said. “Hiram (Eugene) played well last year so I think this is really an open competition between us two. The best man is going to get the spot and so that’s all I can ask.”
– Mitchell said he actually signed his contract last Thursday, but at the urging of the club, “we were real hush-hush about it, let them announce it.”
Technically, he’s still waiting. There was no announcement or confirmation. Not that it matters. It’s a formality for all draft picks except the first one.
Mitchell said he’s looking forward to his first NFL contact, although truth be told, he won’t really get to unload on someone until a preaseason game. But Murphy ought to keep his head on a swivel, just in case.
“I really can’t play like myself when you can’t be physical. I’m a pretty physical guy. There’s one guy I want to get pretty good, that’s Louis Murphy. He’s made on too many Ohio comments about me so we’re going to have our little moment,” Mitchell said. “Other than that I’ve been instructed to keep everybody up. These are our teammates, you don’t ever want to hurt anybody, I wouldn’t want them coming in and cutting me from the side so they definitely don’t me hitting them when they go up for a ball. We all need each other to get to the Super bowl and that’s our no. 1 goal.”
Mitchell’s warning for Murphy, by the way, was said with a broad smile on his face. Of course Jarrod Cooper smiled a lot, too.
– If Walter was one of the players cut to make room for draft picks, he hadn’t heard as he arrived Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m under contract, so 9 a.m. mandatory meeting tomorrow,” Walter said. “I’ll be there unless something changes.”
– Defensive end Trevor Scott looks much bigger in the upper body. Last year, from a distance I thought Stuart Schweigert had been re-signed. No more mistaking him for a safety, based on the size of his arms.
Scott said he weighed 256 pounds and wasn’t shy about stating his goals.
“I want to start, I want to get double-digit sacks and just try to (defend the) run as well as I can,” Scott said.
Scott came to Oakland playing on the left side, but said he is now more comfortable on the right.
– Linebacker Isaiah Ekejiuba arrived wearing a T-shirt in honor of Marquis Cooper, who drowned during the offseason during a fishing trip. He said the shirt was designed by Sam Williams, who gave it to several players.
– Will be curious to see the intensity and level of contact over the first four days, all two-a-days. One player told me he thought much of the first two days would be mostly installation, with little hitting. Could have been wishful thinking, however.