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Texans' Matt Leinart is sacked by 49ers' Demarcus Dobbs in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif. on Saturday, August 27, 2011. The San Francisco 49ers played the Houston Texans. (Jim Gensheimer/Mercury News)

The latest stop on Matt Leinart's tour in an attempt to jump-start his career includes two familiar faces.

Leinart, whose signing was announced by the Raiders on Tuesday after a visit to the club facility, was the freshman understudy at USC for Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer in 2002.

Last season, after being released by the Arizona Cardinals after the final preseason game, Leinart signed with the Houston Texans and worked with quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp -- who this season became offensive coordinator of the Raiders.

The Raiders also worked out former Indianapolis backup Jim Sorgi, probably as insurance in case there remained issues with Leinart's health. In his lone start for the Texans last season, Leinart suffered a broken left (throwing) collarbone on Nov. 27.

With Knapp bringing much of the Houston system with him to Oakland, Leinart should come in with a head start, giving him a leg up on Terrelle Pryor, the quarterback selected by Al Davis with a supplemental third-round pick last season.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said before the club's voluntary minicamp that the coaching staff was eager to see if Pryor was a viable candidate to be the backup after a rookie season in which he arrived late to training camp and had to serve a five-game suspension to start the season.

Leinart won a Heisman Trophy at USC two seasons after Palmer, and his 37-2 record (.949 winning percentage) makes him one of the biggest winners in college football history.

Although there was some talk of Leinart being the top pick in the NFL draft in 2006, he was bypassed until No. 10, when he was selected by the Cardinals.

The Raiders, picking No. 7 that season, opted for Texas safety Michael Huff, although there was some sentiment in the draft room that owner Al Davis select Leinart.

Leinart's career never got off the ground in Arizona. He got his most substantial playing time as a rookie, completing 56.8 percent of his passes (214 of 377) for 2,547 yards with 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

But his playing time diminished as Kurt Warner resurrected his career with the Cardinals, and after Leinart threw three interceptions in a preseason game against the Raiders at the Coliseum, he lost the starting job to start the 2008 season.

  • The Raiders confirmed the departure of Jon Kingdon, a member of the club's scouting department for 33 years. This newspaper has learned other changes include the hiring of Raleigh McKenzie, the twin brother of Reggie, and the dismissal of Bruce Kebric, who has been with the team for 31 years.

    Raliegh McKenzie, a 17-year NFL veteran and two-time Super Bowl winner winner with the Washington Redskins, is a special education elementary school teacher in Herndon, Va., and a high school football coach. His specific role with the Raiders is not known.

  • Free agent running back Cedric Benson, who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of the past three seasons, is hoping to play for the Raiders, according to an ESPN report.

    In theory, Benson could supplant Michael Bush as the team's power runner after lead back Darren McFadden. However, there is no word on whether the Raiders are interested in Benson, who finished near the bottom in yards-after-contact and tied for the NFL lead with five fumbles. Benson does have 12 games of at least 100 yards rushing since 2009.