No first-round holdout this year as Raiders sign McFadden

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders signed running back Darren McFadden to a $60 million, six-year contract, making sure their first-round draft pick will be in training camp after JaMarcus Russell's protracted holdout last year.

"I'm very happy to have it out of the way," McFadden said at a news conference. "Because like coach said, I want to be in training camp. I want to be out there practicing and learning plays. Missing a day of training camp is like missing a week of college practices. It would be a major setback for me."

McFadden, who finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in each of the last two seasons, will be guaranteed $26 million as the fourth pick in the draft, said his agent, Ian Greengross.

McFadden ran for 4,590 yards and 41 touchdowns in three seasons with the Razorbacks, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Though the Raiders were loaded with running backs, they decided McFadden had too much talent to pass up with the fourth overall pick.

McFadden participated in a three-day minicamp that wrapped up Thursday, and coach Lane Kiffin singled him out for his quick acquisition of Oakland's offense after just two short camps.

McFadden also got his contract done quickly. The two sides conducted negotiations in Alameda this week after McFadden expressed a strong desire to be signed before camp starts next month.

Oakland also apparently was motivated to make a timely deal after last season's troubles with Russell, the LSU quarterback selected with last spring's top pick. Russell and the Raiders sat in a contract stalemate throughout training camp, and he didn't get on the field until December after signing his $61 million deal three days into the regular season.

"The last thing we wanted to do with Darren because of our ideas with him was to go into a holdout and for him to miss any time in training camp," Kiffin said. "What I think shows a lot about Darren is the fact that Darren felt the same as we did. Darren knew how important it was for him to get in here and show us his love for football."

The Raiders hope McFadden can be an immediate contributor after the club dumped veteran running back Dominic Rhodes and entertained trade offers for fellow veteran LaMont Jordan, who probably will be released later. Starter Justin Fargas and promising youngster Michael Bush also will be in Oakland's backfield.

With McFadden's deal finalized, three of the top four picks in April's draft have already signed deals. No. 1 pick Jake Long got a $57.75 million, five-year contract with $30 million guaranteed from Miami and third pick Matt Ryan got a $72 million, six-year contract with $34.75 million guaranteed from Atlanta.

The big guaranteed deals for rookies has generated some resentment from veterans around the league .

"I just go in there being humble about it," he said. "I'm not the type of person that's going to be in there with a big head, or bragging, or anything like that. I feel that's one of the things that's helped me out a whole lot because I'm a very humble person. I feel like the whole team has embraced me."

McFadden's father, Gralon, stepmother, Ella, and 21-year-old sister, Gaylon, were on hand to support him. Gaylon, whose last name is Muhammed, her mother's name, is planning to move to the Bay Area to help her brother adjust to life on the West Coast. McFadden said taking care of his large family will be a priority with his newfound riches.

"They always supported me growing up," McFadden said. "Now the table are turned. I'll be able to support them and I'm very happy about it."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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