The Raiders opened their rookie camp Thursday without their rookie, when Steve Wisniewski became an official no-show.
The Penn State guard, top pick of the second round, was their only selection on the first day of the draft and constitutes a full 20% of their rookie class, the balance consisting of a bunch of down-the line picks: two No. 6s, an 8 and a 10. He’s already ticketed for a starting job, he’s been in town most of the summer working hard, he’s still in town, but he’s not here.
“I don’t have much to report,” said Wisniewski’s attorney, Robert Bennett, from his Washington, D.C., office.
“George Karras (the Raider executive who signs players), unfortunately, had that foot injury and is unable to negotiate. We’re communicating. The last conversation I had, George was supposed to get back in touch.
“It’s just part of the business of football. I respect the Raiders. I think they’ve got a great franchise. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Al Davis. The guy is one of the real geniuses in football.
“I anticipate eventually we’ll get him signed. I hope it’s sooner, rather than later.”
The Raiders don’t seem unduly concerned about Wisniewski.
The potential holdout that does have the Raiders concerned is Marcus Allen.
Backs are due on Monday. Allen is in his option year, having made $1 million last season. He reportedly wants a nice raise, seeing as how he has played hurt and moved over for Bo Jackson, and seeing as how Bo will earn $1.4 million in half a season.
When Allen passed up minicamp, there was some attempt to paint it as the result of last season’s wrist injury. Allen and Bill Lewis, who are in similar positions, tried to use the weight room during the session but Coach Mike Shanahan told them if they didn’t intend to practice, they’d have to leave.
Shanahan says that Allen is healthy.
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with Marcus,” Shanahan said. “I’ve seen him working out and there’s no problem with his wrist.
“He’s an excellent football player, a great person. He’s one of the leaders on our football team. He plays hard and plays consistently.”
Shanahan saw Allen a few days ago at a black-tie fund-raising dinner for Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, but they only said hello and Shanahan didn’t ask about Allen’s plans.
He’ll find out soon.
Raiders start two-a-day drills today. They’ll practice against the Dallas Cowboys Wednesday afternoon in Thousand Oaks and here Thursday afternoon (closed, as per Raider policy). . . . There are 55 players here, including free agents Bob Golic, Otis Wilson and Jimmie Giles, and an old favorite, Vince Evans, the strike quarterback who was in the running for the No. 1 job a year ago at this time.