Although USA Today quoted Russell’s uncle Thursday as saying a contract was “almost done,” the Raiders say nothing is close at this point. “I wouldn’t really pay attention to what someone’s uncle said about the negotiation process,” Kiffin said. “I know our people are dealing with JaMarcus’ agents. And, like I said before, there is some progress being made.” Russell’s agent, Eric Metz, has not publicly commented on the talks. With Russell out, the quarterback race has been between Josh McCown and Daunte Culpepper. Kiffin has refused to publicly identify his starter, hoping to gain a competitive advantage by forcing the Lions to prepare for two quarterbacks. But it appears clear that McCown will be the starter because he has been getting the majority of snaps with the first-team offense in practice this week. How long that lasts remains to be seen. From news services While coach Lane Kiffin tries to keep the identity of the Oakland Raiders’ starting quarterback secret, owner Al Davis piped in Thursday with his own opinion of who should take the first snap Sunday against Detroit. “Should be? He may be in Mobile,” Davis said, referring to the hometown of No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell, before heading out to watch practice. It’s clear the starter won’t be Russell, who remains out in a dispute over how much of his contract should be guaranteed. War of words Chad Johnson added Ed Reed to his “hit list,” announced his intention of smacking Ray Lewis and Bart Scott in the mouth and promised a grandiose touchdown celebration. Lewis laughingly insisted Johnson wouldn’t score, and Scott said the standout wide receiver couldn’t hit hard enough to bust a grape. The Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens engaged in a war of words before the AFC North rivals meet Monday night in the opener for both teams. Johnson didn’t reach the end zone in two games against the Ravens last season, so the fleet-footed, wide-mouthed star will seek to amend that situation at Paul Brown Stadium. He’s so confident of scoring that he’s already devised a plan to mark the occasion. “This will probably be one of the greatest celebrations of all time,” Johnson told Cincinnati reporters. “It’s more of a let you know ahead of time what will come in the future for 85. It’s going to be a good one. You’ll like it.” Bodden faces discipline Cleveland Browns starting cornerback Leigh Bodden is looking forward to telling his side of the story after being arrested. The NFL will listen carefully. Bodden faces possible discipline from the league under Commissioner Roger Goodell’s crackdown on player misconduct after being charged with aggravated disorderly conduct and resisting arrest as he tried to pick up his girlfriend and their two children at Cleveland’s major airport. The 25-year-old Bodden, regarded as one of the Browns’ quieter and more easygoing players, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges less than 24 hours after police accused him of driving in reverse down a one-way street and becoming verbally abusive. Goddell speaks Goodell, who spent a good portion of his first year as NFL commissioner dealing with player discipline, says he thinks the league has come out of those problems well. “I think most people think we’ve dealt with it responsibly,” Goodell said just before Thursday night’s opening game between the New Orleans Saints and the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts. Goodell recently suspended Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick indefinitely after Vick pleaded guilty to being involved with dogfighting. Earlier, he had suspended Tennessee’s Adam “Pacman” Jones for a year for numerous run-ins with the law, and Cincinnati’s Chris Henry and ex-Chicago Bear Tank Johnson for eight games for legal problems. Strahan feeling good Michael Strahan increased his work load in practice and said if he continues to feel good that he expects to play in the New York Giants’ season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Practicing for only the third time since ending a holdout on Monday, the seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end said he ran every play during the defensive period and nothing was held back. “I feel good,” Strahan said after practice. “See how I feel tomorrow. Today, I ran a lot more plays than I ran before, the last two days. If I am going to feel good, I’ll be out there.” Barber clarifies remarks Tiki Barber isn’t about to take back negative comments he made recently about his former team, though he did clarify one of his remarks about Giants coach Tom Coughlin. Barber said although Coughlin was not the sole reason he retired from football this year after 10 seasons with the Giants, the often irascible coach was a contributing factor. “People are looking for something concrete, one simple explanation of why I retired, and I’m not that simple, I’m not that shallow,” he said. “It’s a confluence of things. The pounding, the opportunity to do other things, the fact that I wasn’t having fun doing it anymore. “He is part of the reason why I retired from the game,” Barber continued. Around the league Miscellany: Bids topped $10,000 on an Internet auction site for what an animal rights group says are notes from Vick’s speech apologizing for a dogfighting scandal. The Humane Society of the United States is selling on eBay the single-page, six-point outline of the speech Vick gave at an Aug. 27 news conference in Richmond, Va., after pleading guilty in his dogfighting case. The group is planning to put all proceeds in a restricted account dedicated to the prevention of dog fighting. Falcons: Coach Bobby Petrino is still unsure if the team will sign a third quarterback by Sunday morning. Joey Harrington and Chris Redman are 1-2 on the depth chart, but the indefinite suspension of Vick and D.J. Shockley’s season-ending knee injury have left Atlanta with only practice squad quarterback Casey Bramlet as an alternative. Patriots: Quarterback Tom Brady missed a portion of practice because of his chronic right shoulder injury. Brady was on the field during the time the media was allowed to view practice, but the team later reported he had “limited participation.” Patriots coach Bill Belichick was not available for comment. Ravens: The team agreed in principle to a one-year extension with quarterback Kyle Boller, who started 34 games during his first three seasons before settling into a backup role last year. Boller’s contract was to expire after this season. Vikings: Defensive tackle Pat Williams will sign a three-year contract extension with the team, he said. Williams is making $2.65 million this season, the final installment of the original deal he signed with the Vikings in March 2005.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!