By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 at 1:15 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Judging from the small portion practice open to the media Wednesday, it appears Johnnie Lee Higgins could be back returning punts for the Raiders, while Erik Pears is the potential solution to the loss of left guard Robert Gallery.
Higgins, who did not field punts at all last week in practice, was in his familiar spot. Pears worked with the first offensive line until as they went through drills and then lined up for the first time during the first team session.
Pears had 16 starts at right tackle for the Denver Broncos in 2007 and 10 starts at right tackle in 2006 before spending last season on injured reserve. He has never played guard in a regular-season NFL game, although coach Tom Cable said previously Pears versatile enough to make the switch.
It’s conceivable other players, such as Khalif Barnes and Paul McQuistan, could also get first team snaps during the practice session.
Cable will address the media after practice.
There was no sign of Gallery (broken left fibula), wide receiver Chaz Schilens (broken metacarpal) or safety Hiram Eugene (calf strain) at practice. Eugene was seen in the locker room wearing a protective boot, meaning Michael Huff could earn his first start of the season at free safety.
More to come later . . .