Ready to work: Seymour reports to Raiders camp on first day

NAPA, Calif. -- There was a bit of a surprise when the first person walked off the team bus at Oakland Raiders training camp Tuesday.

Five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Richard Seymour came off a bus filled almost entirely with rookies and other inexperienced players, ready to report to his first camp with the Raiders.

While some veterans slapped with the franchise tag choose to miss some of camp before signing their tender, Seymour ended any doubt about a holdout more than a month ago when he signed his for $12.398 million.

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"Camp is the foundation that you build your success on for the season," Seymour said. "During the season, you're spending so much time with game plans and focusing in on your opponents that you really don't have the time to work on a lot of individual things. This is my time where I really get into me and focus in on the things I need to do to make myself a better player. Come in and knock some of the rust off and be ready to go."

The Raiders acquired Seymour just before the start of last season by sending a 2011 first-round draft pick to the New England Patriots. Seymour made an impressive debut just days after arriving in Oakland, recording two sacks in a season-opening loss to the AFC West rival San Diego Chargers. But Seymour had just two more sacks in the final 15 games and was unable to solve the Raiders' run defense woes.

The Raiders finished the season 5-11, their NFL-worst seventh consecutive season with at least 11 losses. Oakland finished 29th out of 32 teams in run defense at 155.5 yards allowed per game.

Fixing the run defense has been one of the Raiders' key tasks this offseason. Oakland used its first two draft picks on middle linebacker Rolando McClain and defensive lineman Lamarr Houston. The team also signed two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle John Henderson in June to bolster the middle of the line.

"I love stopping the run," said Henderson, who joined the Raiders after offseason workouts. "That's my thing. I like to sack the quarterback, too, but I always like stopping the run."

The only Raiders player who remains unsigned is McClain, the eighth overall pick. Oakland has signed its other eight draft picks and hopes to have McClain under contract before practice begins Thursday.

The defensive additions from last year are notable, but the biggest change for the Raiders is at quarterback, where JaMarcus Russell has been released and Jason Campbell is expected to take over as starter. The Raiders acquired Campbell from the Washington Redskins during the draft for a 2012 fourth-round pick.

Russell entered camp last year solidly entrenched as the starter after a promising finish to the 2008 season. But Russell was fined upon his arrival for being overweight, a sign of things to come.

Russell struggled mightily in camp and when the season started before finally losing his job to Bruce Gradkowski midway through the campaign. Russell completed 48.8 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a 50.0 rating that was the lowest in 11 years. He eventually was released on May 6, shortly after the Raiders' mandatory minicamp.

Campbell started 52 games for the Washington Redskins after being a first-round pick in 2005. He has thrown for 55 touchdowns and 38 interceptions, and he has a passer rating of 82.3 in his career.

Campbell is coming off his best season, completing 64.5 percent of his passes with 20 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and a rating of 86.4. But the Redskins went 4-12 last season.

Notes: The Raiders announced Tuesday that they had hired former linebacker Greg Biekert as a defensive assistant weeks ago. ... The team will hold meetings all day Wednesday before practice starts Thursday. ... QB Bruce Gradkowski, sidelined all offseason with a torn pectoral muscle, has been throwing to receivers the past few weeks.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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