NAPA -- Justin Tuck doesn't see the point in teaching a seminar on playing championship football. Rather, Tuck looks at leadership as a daily demonstration of principles, a process that began Friday on the first day of practice behind the Napa Valley Marriott.

"The last thing you want is guys thinking, 'Oh, he thinks he knows it all,' because I don't," Tuck said. "The biggest thing is just coming here and going about your business, like I've always done.

"Setting a good example of how to be good in meetings, being early in meetings, taking notes, whatever it may be. That's what people watch. If they want to ask me questions, I'm all about that, too."

Tuck, 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, was a key force in Super Bowl victories for the New York Giants after the 2007 and 2011 seasons, registering two sacks against New England's Tom Brady in each game.

After the 2013 season, when Tuck had 11 sacks -- the fourth double-digit sack season of his NFL career -- the Giants made no serious effort to sign him at age 31. Tuck agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract to join the Raiders.

Tuck's reputation as a leader preceded him, and coach Dennis Allen said he hasn't been disappointed.

"We set out to bring in veteran leaders that had a championship pedigree and could teach these guys what it takes to be a real pro," Allen said. "He's been that force, and I expect him to continue to be that force."


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Tuck has made a point not to overload rookie outside linebacker and pass rusher Khalil Mack with information but upon request gave a quick lesson in using his hands to disengage from a defender.

"He told me I've been working against myself," Mack said.

With the Giants giving only a lukewarm contract offer and joining a team that hasn't had a winning season since 2002, Tuck is aware of public perception. And he's fine with it.

"I'm an underdog story guy," he said. "I've always rooted for the underdogs in movies. They act like we don't get paid to play football for some reason. We've got a lot of talent on this team.

"We've got to exorcise some demons that have been here, some thought processes of some guys that are used to having 4-12 seasons. The mindset has to change. I hear all the things people say, and I'm in the business of proving people wrong."

After the 2013 season, Tuck added a wrinkle to his training regimen, working out with San Francisco-based mixed martial arts trainer Tareq Azim from the Empower Gym. Azim trains UFC welterweight contender Jake Shields and worked with Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch last season.

Tuck believes the workouts have improved his leverage, balance, power and explosion -- not to mention giving him a fresh approach.

"It opens your mind to a different aspect of training and taking something completely foreign into football," Tuck said. "We've always done a double-team a singular way. The training we did this offseason gives me different weapons I can use to beat blocks or an opponent.

"If you've got a few more tricks in your bag, you can keep offenses and offensive linemen off balance a little bit."

  • The Raiders' first practice session came in triple-digit heat before a crowd of season-ticket holders that offered both encouragement and a few catcalls.

  • The passing game was a mixed bag, with some nice grabs from wide receiver Greg Little but with most of the best work going to tight ends. Other than throwing the ball around a day or two before training camp, quarterback Matt Schaub said it was the first time they'd been together since the mandatory minicamp. "It's a little different animal when you get to training camp," Schaub said. "Things ramp up a little bit."

  • The Raiders had 82 of the 89 players on their roster participating in practice. Cornerbacks DJ Hayden (foot) and Keith McGill (ankle), safety Usama Young (quad), tight end Nick Kasa (hip) and guard Lucas Nix (knee) are on the physically unable to perform list. Defensive tackles Stacy McGee (thumb) and C.J. Wilson (hamstring) are on the non-football injury list.

    For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders. Follow Jerry McDonald on Twitter at twitter.com/Jerrymcd.