Culpepper, Oakland complete 1-year deal as Russell remains unsigned

NAPA, Calif. -- Free-agent quarterback Daunte Culpepper
signed a one-year contract with Oakland on Tuesday, giving the
Raiders a backup plan for top draft pick JaMarcus Russell.

Culpepper, 30, worked out in the afternoon before a gathering of
Raiders scouts and coaches in a private workout. Raiders coach Lane
Kiffin announced the signing shortly after the team completed

"We had to see him run around, scramble and do different things
because his arm didn't go away,'' Kiffin said. "We weren't really
worried about that. We had to make sure everything else was good.''

Culpepper, who blew out his knee in 2005 with the Vikings, began 2006 as Miami's starter but had trouble with his
mobility and was sacked 21 times in the first four games. The
Dolphins shut him down so he could continue rehabilitation and eventually placed him on injured reserve. When they acquired Trent Green in a trade with Kansas City this offseason, Culpepper became

"When I became a free agent I created and ranked eight criteria
that I used to evaluate potential teams that were interested in my
services,'' Culpepper said. "Based on my criteria, the Oakland
Raiders are the best fit.''

The Dolphins tried unsuccessfully to trade Culpepper a year
after acquiring him from Minnesota. When Miami failed to find a
team willing to trade for Culpepper, the former Pro Bowl
quarterback was released on July 17. Culpepper met with Tampa Bay
two days later but did not receive a contract offer from the Bucs.

The Raiders sent a member of their front office to Florida to
work out Culpepper on Monday, then sent a private plane to fly the
6-foot-4, 265-pound quarterback to California for the Tuesday

Culpepper said the Raiders "are giving me the opportunity to
compete for the starting job,'' yet acknowledged that part of his
role in Oakland will be helping Russell "get ready to take over
for the future,'' he said.

"I also get an opportunity to show both the Raiders and the NFL
community that I am healthy and back to form after battling
injuries the last two seasons,'' Culpepper said. "Most
importantly, I appreciated that there was mutual respect as we
worked through the process of coming to contract terms.''

Culpepper's signing comes three months after the Raiders traded
away his former teammate in Minnesota, Randy Moss.

In eight NFL seasons, Culpepper has passed for 21,091 yards and
137 touchdowns with 89 interceptions. He has a career quarterback
rating of 90.8.

Kiffin acknowledged that the Raiders wanted Culpepper partially
due to the situation with Russell. The No. 1 pick has yet to sign a
contract with Oakland and negotiations between the two sides slowed
over the weekend.

Josh McCown, who was acquired in a draft day trade with Detroit,
and Andrew Walter have split the reps in practice while Russell
remains at his mother's home in Mobile, Ala.

"We think that he adds definite competition to a position right
now where we basically only had two guys here with Andrew and
Josh,'' Kiffin said. "They've done extremely well but we needed to
protect ourselves and make sure we're in the best position to win
and make sure we have the most competition at that spot."

Kiffin spoke with Russell by phone Tuesday morning to brief the
rookie on the possibility of Culpepper signing.

"It's always important for your team to know things, just as we
informed both our quarterbacks last night that this was going to
happen today [and] make sure they heard it from us and understood
the reasons we were doing it,'' Kiffin said.

Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp spoke briefly with
Culpepper on Tuesday and welcomed the signing.

"I know he's an effective quarterback because I've chased him
and hunted him over the years,'' Sapp said. "I know he's had a
good little off time to get himself back healthy. If he's healthy,
he's more than an effective quarterback. Somebody up top thinks he
can help our ball club so let's see what we got.''

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.