- The Washington Times - Friday, August 26, 2005

Though he didn’t start once during his first four NFL seasons, Oakland Raiders running back LaMont Jordan certainly talks a good game.

“It’s good when people talk about [me] being the savior of the running game,” said Jordan, who was given a five-year, $27.5 million contract by the run-challenged Raiders in March. “A lot of people are going to say, ‘He’s never carried the load.’ I accept the challenge. I’m confident I’ll succeed. Defensive coordinators are going to have to ask themselves, ‘How do I want the Raiders to beat me?’ ”

Only a near monsoon that made passing virtually pointless in the 2004 finale prevented Oakland from setting an NFL record for fewest rushing attempts in a season. And Amos Zereoue’s 425 rushing yards were the lowest ever by a Raiders leader and 54 less than Jordan produced as Curtis Martin’s caddie with the New York Jets.

“LaMont has the chance to be as complete a back as I’ve been around,” said Raiders coach Norv Turner, who as a coach or coordinator from 1990 to 2003 worked with such big-time backs as Emmitt Smith, Terry Allen, Stephen Davis, LaDainian Tomlinson and Ricky Williams.

Jordan has displayed his versatility on a daily basis this month. While newly acquired All-Pro receiver Randy Moss gets most of the attention, Jordan has been everywhere in practice: running, catching, blocking blitzing linebackers.

In the preseason opener against San Francisco, quarterback Kerry Collins found Jordan underneath Moss on three of his first five passes. Jordan also had two early runs of eight yards, although the second was called back by a penalty after the former Maryland star ran through a would-be tackler.

No worries for Priest — Two months shy of his 32nd birthday and after missing the last eight games of 2004 with a bad knee, Kansas City running back Priest Holmes didn’t understand the fuss over his 42 yards on four carries (including a 21-yarder on his first run) in the preseason opener against Minnesota.

“I’ve always bounced back,” said Holmes, who says he’s not 100 percent yet. “That’s never been a doubt in my mind.”

While Holmes recovers, the Chiefs are limiting 35-year-old quarterback Trent Green’s workload in training camp.

“Trent’s like Seabiscuit,” offensive coordinator Al Saunders said. “You’ve got to pull him back sometimes. He’d work himself to death if he could.”

Takes one to know one — Told his new Oakland teammates praised him for instantly recognizing and calling out defensive coverages, Randy Moss said, “I never claimed to be smart. But I guess being the best receiver in the league I have to have a good grade at something. If it’s not my ability, then it has to be my smartness.”

And when asked about fellow receiver Terrell Owens’ problems in Philadelphia, Moss said, “For all the distractions and stuff like that, who am I to tell him anything? I’m Mr. Distraction himself.”

Mr. Charlotte — If Moss is “Mr. Distraction,” tight end Kris Mangum, in his ninth year with Carolina, came up with an equally fitting nickname for Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme.

“You can honestly say that guy, he’s kind of taken over Charlotte,” Mangum said. “He’s Mr. Charlotte. I’ve never seen a town like a guy as much as they like Jake. In the past, there have been [off-the-field] problems here and there, and we needed a face with no problems. Jake’s a family man, he shows up to work, he plays hard and there’s no flashiness to him.

“And Jake plays well. That’s the biggest thing. You can be the perfect role model and if when the game’s on the line, you don’t produce, they’re not going to like you.”

Herrion remembered — San Francisco guard Thomas Herrion, who died in the locker room after a game at Denver on Aug.20, will be remembered with a video and a moment of silence at the club’s home game tonight against Tennessee. The 49ers also have established a scholarship fund in Herrion’s name to benefit a charity of his family’s choosing.

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