Huff agreed to the parameters of the deal Monday night, but
didn't sign it until minutes before Tuesday's afternoon practice on
the Raiders' first day of training camp.
"This morning when everyone was out here I was just wishing I
was out here," Huff said. "But I'm out here now."
The Raiders are very satisfied to have the No. 7 overall pick in
camp on the first day of practice. Huff is being counted on to fill
the hybrid role Charles Woodson played last year: blitzing,
covering slot receivers and playing deep safety.
Huff played every secondary position at Texas, making 318
tackles in a career that ended with the Longhorns' 41-38 victory
over unbeaten USC in the Rose Bowl for the national championship.
"He's a very athletic guy, a very smart guy, you can give him a
couple of different things, and he picks them up very well," coach
Art Shell said. "We don't see it as a problem. He can play free
safety, he can play strong safety, he can play corner. He can do
all those things. That's a plus for us in the secondary."
Huff admits he has plenty to learn about the NFL game, and will
lean on the Raiders' veterans to get up to speed. He begins camp as
a second-team player, backing up Derrick Gibson and Stuart
Schweigert at safety.
But Shell has said Huff will have every chance to earn a
starting role in training camp.
"I'm comfortable with that because there are a lot of great
experienced guys ahead of me that I can learn from," Huff said.
"So I'm going to go out there and learn and get better every day
and be the best player I can be. Whenever it's my time to be on the
field, that's where I'll be."
Huff started every game the past two seasons at strong safety
and made a career-high 109 tackles in 2005, including 10 for loss.
He caused four fumbles, recovered two and ran one of those back for
a touchdown. He also deflected 14 passes and made two
The Raiders will be counting on him and fellow rookie Thomas
Howard at linebacker to add speed to a defense that was last in the
NFL with five interceptions and tied for 27th with only 19
turnovers caused on defense.
"You can see it on film. The eye in the sky never lies,"
defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. "You put guys out there like
Howard and Huff and some of the guys we have got moving around now
and it's pretty fast. We just have to be able to swarm to the ball
and make it pay off for us."
In other news, Shell said a few players were slowed with the
temperature in the 90s in Napa, with some cramping up and others
forced to briefly leave practice to vomit. Shell gave the team
water breaks after about an hour of each practice.
Offensive tackle Robert Gallery and receiver Ronald Curry missed
practice because they are on the physically unable to perform list.
Curry is recovering from a torn left Achilles' tendon sustained in
the second game last season and expects to be practicing next week.
Gallery strained his left quad running on July 16 and also
expects to be back practicing soon.
"It's nothing to worry about. It's something that can bother
you and get worse. It's better now than in the season," Gallery
said. "When you weigh this much and you're that explosive this can