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Oakland minicamp odds and ends

5/9/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- First round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey said he is wearing No. 12 to honor a father figure, who recently died. He said Richard Woodley, the father of his close friend, wore No. 12 in high school and in college. He said he hopes to wear the number during the season.

  • I was struck by the personalities of Oakland's draft picks during the minicamp. Teams are drafting for character more and more these days and the early returns in Denver and in Oakland are good.

  • The Raiders didn't throw the ball deep much last season. However, during Friday's morning practice, they aired it out often. Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell looks to be in good shape. Last year, he battled rumors about his weight.

  • Running back Darren McFadden looked great. He has a quick burst. If he can stay healthy, watch for a big year from the second-year player. McFadden split out as a receiver on some plays Friday.

  • Receiver Javon Walker is out until training camp after yet another knee surgery. I wouldn't be shocked if Walker ends up missing significant playing time because of injury for the fourth time in five seasons. Walker's health may be one of the reasons why Oakland signed receiver Sami Parker on Friday.

  • Rookie receivers Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy, a fourth-round pick, met on a visit to Maryland. Heyward-Bey went to Maryland and Murphy went to Florida.

  • The Raiders still have Marquis Cooper's name on their roster. He was lost at sea in March after a fishing trip in Florida.

  • Russell said he is learning a lot from new backup quarterback Jeff Garcia.

  • Tight end Zach Miller is recovering from a sports hernia is expected to be ready for training camp.

  • If the Raiders pursue Bay Area native Travis LaBoy it may be down the road. The pass rusher, who was just cut from Arizona, is recovering from an injury and he likely won't sign anywhere for several weeks.