Russell's uncle says deal with Raiders 'almost done'

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Is No. 1 draft pick JaMarcus Russell, who has held out since the beginning of training camp in search of a contract, close to signing with the Oakland Raiders?

His uncle sure thinks so.

The Raiders "realize they have dropped the ball, and they started negotiating in good faith," Ray Russell, JaMarcus' uncle and adviser, told USA Today in an interview from Atlanta.

"They've done more talking in the last week and a half than the previous three months. It's almost done.

"It's just a damn shame it's taken this long."

Russell has missed 42 days of training camp.

Russell's agent, Eric Metz, didn't return a phone call from the Oakland Tribune seeking comment on the report.

The Raiders are leaning toward naming Josh McCown as their starting quarterback, according to ESPN's Michael Smith. McCown has taken snaps with the the first-team offense the last two days in practice. The other quarterback vying for the starting job is Daunte Culpepper, who the Raiders signed on July 31.

Tuesday night, ESPN.com's John Clayton reported that McCown was the logical choice as the opening day starter for Oakland, because he's been working in the team's offense since April and is less mistake-prone than Culpepper has been during his career.

Information from ESPN.com's John Clayton and Michael Smith is included in this report