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Huff signs deal with Raiders

NAPA, Calif. (July 25, 2006) -- First-round pick Michael Huff signed a five-year contract with the Oakland Raiders.

Huff agreed to the parameters of the deal July 24, but didn't sign it until minutes before the July 25 afternoon practice on the Raiders' first day of training camp.

"This morning when everyone was out here I was just wishing I was out here," Huff said. "But I'm out here now."

The Raiders are very satisfied to have the No. 7 overall pick in camp on the first day of practice. Huff is being counted on to fill the hybrid role Charles Woodson played last year: blitzing, covering slot receivers and playing deep safety.

Huff played every secondary position at Texas, making 318 tackles in a career that ended with the Longhorns' 41-38 victory over unbeaten USC in the Rose Bowl for the national championship.

"He's a very athletic guy, a very smart guy, you can give him a couple of different things, and he picks them up very well," coach Art Shell said. "We don't see it as a problem. He can play free safety, he can play strong safety, he can play corner. He can do all those things. That's a plus for us in the secondary."

Huff admits he has plenty to learn about the NFL game, and will lean on the Raiders' veterans to get up to speed. He begins camp as a second-team player, backing up Derrick Gibson and Stuart Schweigert at safety.

But Shell has said Huff will have every chance to earn a starting role in training camp.

"I'm comfortable with that because there are a lot of great experienced guys ahead of me that I can learn from," Huff said. "So I'm going to go out there and learn and get better every day and be the best player I can be. Whenever it's my time to be on the field, that's where I'll be."

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