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Russell holdout continues in Oakland

NAPA, Calif. (AP) - Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin is worried that rookie quarterback JaMarcus Russell is throwing off his learning curve by staying out of training camp in a contract dispute.

"We're now getting to the point where we've had enough practices where it is going to be a disadvantage to him once he does get here because he is going to be behind," Kiffin said.

The top overall pick in the draft, Russell is the lone holdout among Oakland's 11 selections. Second-round pick Zach Miller sat out the first day of training camp while the final details on his contract were resolved, then reported for his first training camp practice on Saturday.

While the Raiders went through their fourth day of workouts Monday, Russell remained at his mother's home in Mobile, Ala. Kiffin and Russell traded calls over the weekend.

"He's very frustrated. He wishes he was here," Kiffin said. "He's put it into the hands of the people representing him and he's completely out of it from his point of view."

Talks between the Raiders, Russell and his agent, Eric Metz, have been ongoing for weeks. Metz has not commented publicly on the talks and has not returned calls seeking comment.

Russell is said to be seeking a deal worth $60 million. Last year's No. 1 overall pick, defensive end Mario Williams of the Houston Texans, signed a six-year, $54 million deal that included $26.5 million in guaranteed money.

The deal is so complex that the Raiders have had as many as six people in their front office working on the contract.

"At the end of the day we have to do the best thing in the interest for the Raiders and for our future," Kiffin said. "I know our people are doing that right now."

With Russell not in camp, the Raiders have been letting Josh McCown and Andrew Walter split reps with the starting offense. Oakland also signed backup quarterback Cody Pickett on Saturday to give McCown and Walter a break from throwing all camp.

"We needed somebody," Kiffin said. "We were hoping JaMarcus was going to be here and obviously he's not, so we needed someone else."

Russell still has the playbook the Raiders gave him when he was in Oakland for the team's offseason mini-camps and workouts, so he's able to study the offense. But, Kiffin warned, Russell is missing out on the on-field work and that will put him behind the rest of the team when a deal is finally struck.

"Obviously we're going to spend tireless hours with him and special time getting him caught up, but it's just not that easy. It's reps," Kiffin said. "We can't make that up. That's going to be a disadvantage to him. We just hope there's not many more reps that he does miss."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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