Raiders, QB Collins in Serious Talks

The Oakland Raiders have had serious discussions with quarterback Kerry Collins about joining the team.

Collins met with Raiders officials for two days at team headquarters earlier this month and has been in touch with the team in recent days.

``He was here two weeks ago,'' Raiders spokesman Artie Gigantino said Sunday. ``Right now, nothing's been done. It would be premature to say he's going to sign.''

Collins had a physical with the Raiders and met with coaches, but didn't work out.

The 31-year-old Collins, a nine-year NFL veteran, was released by the New York Giants four days after they acquired No. 1 draft pick Eli Manning from the San Diego Chargers on draft day, April 24. Collins led the Giants to a Super Bowl appearance in 2001.

The Giants shed $8.95 million off their salary cap this season by cutting Collins, who threw for 3,110 yards with 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions last season.

Whether he would start for the Raiders is unclear.

Oakland, coming of an embarrassing 4-12 season, has questions at the quarterback position, even though the Raiders have said 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon is completely healthy after having shoulder surgery in November to repair a torn labrum and is still their No. guy.

The 38-year-old Gannon, knocked out of the Raiders' 17-10 loss to Kansas City last Oct. 20, ended the season on injured reserve, and so did his backup, Marques Tuiasosopo.

Gannon is due to make $7 million this season and he has said he won't take a pay cut, raising speculation the Raiders may let him go.

After Oakland made the worst collapse by a team in the Super Bowl the previous year, Gannon criticized the Raiders. He said he believes he unfairly became the organization's scapegoat in the first seven weeks of the season when no one stepped forward to take responsibility for the failures.

He later met with owner Al Davis.

During the Raiders' 2002-03 Super Bowl season, Gannon led the league's top offense and broke the NFL completions record with 418 on the way to league MVP honors. He led the league with 4,689 yards passing.

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