That’s the way it happens sometimes in the N(ot)F(or)L(ong) league.
One minute, you’re enjoying the warm glow of your finest game as a professional. The next, a story makes the rounds that your team may bring in someone who can put you on the bench.
If Michael Huff was bothered by talk that three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Chris McAlister could be on the Raiders’ radar, possibly as a safety, he hid it well.
Based on the way Huff has conducted himself since the day he arrived as the No. 7 overall draft pick in 2006, he can be taken at his word.
Huff paused for a moment, looked over at reporters crowded around Nnamdi Asomugha, and made his point.
“That’s the NFL, they bring somebody to take your job,” Huff said. “I’m sure in a couple of years they’ll bring somebody to get Nnamdi’s job, that’s the business about it. I don’t worry about who they bring in.”
One source close to McAllister said there was no deal imminent but conceded the Raiders are an option. Huff is coming off his best game as a Raider. He had an interception, a fumble recovery and what coach Tom Cable said was a flawless game in terms of coverage assignments and getting secondary personnel aligned correctly against varied formations.
“Things haven’t gone well since I’ve been here, so two turnovers and a couple of pass breakups, yeah, it was definitely one of my best games since I’ve been here,” Huff said.
Huff has three interceptions in 50 games, but even fewer complaints. He played out of position as a strong safety for two years, was benched midway through last season in favor of Hiram Eugene on a poor defense, and never once pointed a finger or snapped under the pressure of being a premium draft pick with pedestrian numbers.
When Asomugha once gave him a piggy bank during a team gag gift exchange because he was stealing Al Davis’ money, Huff laughed it off.
“I’m not going to blame anybody else,” Huff said. “I looked at the film, I wasn’t playing up to par or the level I want to play because I put more pressure on myself than anybody else can. I expect to play at a Pro Bowl, Hall of Fame level myself, so if I’m not playing up to par, I’m hard on myself.”
Huff said he has spent more time trying to get better than he has analyzing what has gone wrong. He concedes he may have tried too hard his first two years, and really isn’t sure why he struggled so badly last season but admits the evidence of his poor play is right there on film.
“I think I’m still growing as a player, and I feel like I’m still getting better and better each year and I strive to make each year my best year, so I think this will be the best year of my career,” Huff said.
More to news and notes from the open locker room session as well as the post-practice update from Cable to come later . . .