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Sources: Raiders target Dec. 2 as Russell's debut date

The JaMarcus Russell era in Oakland likely will begin Dec. 2, sources told ESPN.

The Raiders have circled Dec. 2 vs. the Broncos as the likely starting debut for the 2007 No. 1 overall pick, team sources told ESPN.

Russell's "light came on" a couple of weeks ago, a source told ESPN.

Russell had a great week of practice, then weighed in at 259 on Friday after hovering in the 270s most of the season.

Unless Daunte Culpepper excels the next two weeks in starts against the Vikings and Chiefs, Russell likely will get all five starts in December.

Russell held out all of training camp in a contract dispute before agreeing to a six-year contract that carries a maximum value of $68 million, a league rookie record. His first practice was Sept. 12.

Chris Mortensen covers the NFL for ESPN.com.