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NFL union appeals Porter's suspension

ALAMEDA, Calif. (Oct. 16, 2006) -- The NFL Players Association appealed Oakland receiver Jerry Porter's four-game suspension by the team for insubordination, calling the punishment "excessive."

Porter, who has been inactive all season, was suspended by the Raiders on Oct. 14, a day after being kicked out of practice by coach Art Shell.

"We believe that a four-game suspension is far too excessive at this point," NFLPA spokesman Carl Francis said.

The appeal would be heard by an independent arbitrator. Porter, in the second year of a five-year contract worth $20 million, will be docked about $235,000 in pay if the suspension is upheld.

Shell said he had bigger concerns than whether the suspension would be upheld on appeal, mostly turning the season around for the NFL's only winless team.

"I'm not worried about that right now," Shell said. "That will take care of itself in due time. The only thing I'm concerned about right now is with our football team here."

Shell said last week that Porter was working and "doing what he's asked to do" but admitted Oct. 16 that he wasn't being truthful, saying you don't tell people "everything that's going on in your house."

"So when I said everything, it wasn't necessarily everything," Shell said. "He was doing some things. There were some things he wasn't doing."

Shell and Porter clashed almost immediately after the coach was hired in February over Porter's offseason workout plans. Porter made public a trade demand at the start of training camp and was inactive for the four games before the suspension.

Porter, the team's leading receiver a year ago, has been working with the scout team in practice as Alvis Whitted took his starting job.

The Raiders have struggled mightily without Porter, scoring just 50 points in losing their first five games. Even though Whitted has just eight catches for 96 yards, Shell has said the receivers aren't the problem with the offense.

Shell kicked Porter out of practice Oct. 13, the final straw before the suspension, which Shell said was for being disruptive and insubordinate. Shell said he consulted with receivers coach Fred Biletnikoff, the front office and owner Al Davis before making the decision.

"It was a culmination of things," Shell said. "There was a couple of things that happened during the course of the week, and some things that happened through time."

Defensive tackle Warren Sapp said the four-game suspension was "overboard."

A phone message left with Porter's agent, Joel Segal, was not returned.

Porter led the Raiders with 76 catches last season and had 942 yards receiving and five touchdown receptions in 2005.

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 last season and with 998 yards.

The Raiders do not expect to trade Porter or their other disgruntled receiver, Randy Moss, before the Oct. 17 trade deadline.

"There's always talk, whether a move is being made or will be made," Shell said. "That remains to be seen. It takes two parties to make it happen, but right now I don't know of any movement coming about."

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