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Russell remains unsigned, leaving top pick out of Raiders camp

NAPA, Calif. (AP) -No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell and the Oakland Raiders failed to agree on a contract before the start of training camp Friday, forcing the quarterback to miss the team's first practice.

Russell remained at home in Mobile, Ala., as the Raiders took the field for their first training camp under coach Lane Kiffin. Second-round pick Zach Miller, a tight end out of Arizona State, also missed the opening session.

"We feel that we've made some strides," Kiffin said. "We felt that Zach was going to be at this practice, even up until a few minutes before practice. But at the last minute, it just didn't happen."

The Raiders were also without Pro Bowl defensive end Derrick Burgess and running back Michael Bush, who were both placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list. Burgess, a two-time Pro Bowler, underwent hernia surgery two weeks ago and missed the start of camp.

"It just flared up on me while I was working out," Burgess said. "We decided, the doctors decided, it's better to get it done, get it out of the way so it won't be a problem in the future."

Bush, a fourth-round pick, missed almost all of last season at Louisville with a broken leg and Kiffin doesn't want to rush the rookie back.

Talks between the Raiders, Russell and his agent, Eric Metz, have been ongoing for weeks but the sides have yet to strike an agreement. Metz has not commented publicly on the talks and didn't return calls seeking comment Friday.

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.

While Russell's teammates want him in camp as soon as possible, they understand his situation.

"It's important, but he's got to take care of his own business, too," receiver Jerry Porter said. "I'm not going to comment on his money. His agent and our GM will take care of their business."

The Raiders used the No. 1 overall pick on Russell in April, making him the cornerstone of a rebuilding project for a team that had won just 15 games the previous four seasons.

While the Raiders are planning their future around Russell, veterans Josh McCown and Andrew Walter are expected to compete for the starting job for the season opener Sept. 9 against Detroit. But McCown said it's very important for Russell to report to camp soon.

"It's huge," he said. "Because these first few weeks, the practices that you get and the work you get you never get back. I have not been the top pick, but being in that situation where there are a couple of sides to the thing ... it takes time. Hopefully it will get worked out to where everybody's happy and we can get him in here and get him working."

Russell impressed his new coaches during offseason workouts but still has plenty to learn as he tries to adjust to the speed and complexity of the pro game.

Russell went 25-4 as LSU's starting quarterback, capping his career by throwing for 332 yards and two TDs in a 41-14 Sugar Bowl win over Notre Dame. He finished his career with the Tigers by throwing the second most touchdown passes (52) and having the second-highest completion percentage (61.9 percent) in school history.

That success combined with a 6-foot-6, 260-pound frame and a rocket arm made Russell the Raiders' choice with the No. 1 pick.

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Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) rushes during an NFL football game between the between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)

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