ALAMEDA — You can take the coach out of Oakland, but you can't take away his ability to coach.
That's the message gleaned from quarterback JaMarcus Russell's revelation Wednesday that fired coach Lane Kiffin called him Monday night to break down the New Orleans Saints defense in advance of Sunday's game.
"He just called and talked to me about their defense, things he would do if he was here," Russell said. "So, really, nothing changed."
No word on how that sits with managing general partner Al Davis, who said Sept. 30, the day he fired Kiffin, that Kiffin was opposed to the Raiders' selecting Russell with the No. 1 pick of the 2007 NFL draft. Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and coach Tom Cable no longer were available for comment after Russell's revelation about Kiffin.
This wasn't a one-time thing, either, Russell said. Kiffin reaches out to him on a regular basis.
"He has got a lot of off time on his hands," Russell said, "so he would pay attention to the defense I would have to go up against. He leaves me a text message or a voice mail here or there."
Clearing the air
An Internet report authored by former Raiders senior personnel executive Mike Lombardi on Tuesday said the NFL sent Davis a letter informing him that the team is in violation of league rules for accusing the New England Patriots of tampering over their pursuit of wide receiver
"No such letter was sent," said Greg Aiello, the NFL senior vice president of public relations.
Davis' accusation came after his 45-minute news conference detailing the reasons why he fired Kiffin.
"Mike (Lombardi) sold what's his name, Belichick (Bill, New England coach), on the idea that (Moss) could run," Davis said. "They tampered with him. I remember (Patriots owner) Bob Kraft saying that he had to look (Moss) in the eye and all that. They went down and worked him out. He could run. He's on their team, of course."
Moss set a league record with 23 touchdown receptions in 2007. The Raiders traded him to the Patriots on the second day of the draft for a fourth-round draft pick. Davis fired Lombardi a month or so later.
In other news, Aiello said neither Kiffin nor any of his representatives has filed a grievance with the league office in regard to Davis' firing Kiffin "for cause" and "without pay."
Running back Darren McFadden practiced for the first time since Oakland last played 11 days ago. He required a pain-killing injection in his right big toe before each of Oakland's past two games. ... Defensive end Derrick Burgess (triceps) aggravated the injury he sustained against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 21 and missed practice.
— Steve Corkran