Raiders' Porter demands trade, sits out practice
NAPA, Calif. -- The Art Shell era has just begun and Jerry Porter is already having problems with his new coach.
A day after publicly demanding a trade, Porter sat out practice Wednesday with a calf injury. While other injured players such as Ronald Curry were on the field with their teammates for part of practice, Porter was nowhere to be seen during workouts.
Porter declined to talk to reporters Wednesday, but Shell said the trade request was a "non-issue" and the team is unlikely to grant his request.
Porter told the San Francisco Chronicle in a story printed Wednesday that he has asked the Raiders to trade him. Porter described a strained relationship that began shortly after Shell took over the team in February, when Porter told the coaching staff he would do most of his offseason workouts in Florida and that "I don't like the way things are going around here."
Shell said there's nothing to "iron out" with Porter and that coaches and players don't always see "eye to eye."
"There's guys every year that might not want to be on a team, but, hey, part of this business is you play with who you've got," Shell said. "If we have somebody on this team that's here, whether he said he wants to be here or not, if he's doing what he's supposed to do, then we'll go to work."
Porter left Tuesday's morning practice wearing a belt adorned with huge gold dollar signs. He came out for the afternoon practice, but did not participate because of the calf injury.
Shell said he would check on Porter's status with the training staff Thursday.
"He wasn't out there, so we have to move forward," Shell said.
Porter is in the second year of a five-year deal worth $20 million, making it difficult for the Raiders to cut or trade him because of salary cap issues.
Porter was sidelined for much of training camp last year with a pulled hamstring, missing three weeks of practice and all four preseason games. He made it back for the season opener, but started slowly and did not catch his first touchdown pass until the seventh game.
"I wasn't here last year so I don't know that," Shell said. "It's always important that every player make practice. Practice makes you better. Every rep you get makes you better, so the quicker we can get any of our injured guys back the better off we'll be."
Porter, a second-round pick out of West Virginia in 2000, has 239 catches for 3,215 yards and 24 touchdowns in six seasons with the Raiders. He has never reached 1,000 yards receiving in a season, missing the mark narrowly with 998 yards in 2004 and 942 last season.
Porter, who led the team with 76 catches last season, is being counted on as the No. 2 receiver behind Randy Moss. The team has few proven options behind those two receivers.
Curry is coming back from his second straight season-ending injury to his left Achilles' tendon and has had more than five catches in a season only once in four years in the NFL.
Doug Gabriel, who has 71 catches for 1,122 yards in three seasons, is the other option.
Another possibility, Carlos Francis, had to be helped off the field Wednesday with a left hamstring injury and was to undergo an MRI. Francis injured the same hamstring on the first day of practice last year and missed most of camp.
"It was an unfortunate thing because Carlos has been working good in the offseason and the last couple of days," Shell said. "Hopefully it's not too serious."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press