Raiders re-sign Huff, linked to Cromartie

July 31, 2011, 6:55 pm
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comMichael Huff sat back and enjoyed the rumor mill that pondered his next home.The second-team All-Pro free safety's contract had expired but as a fifth-year player, he also became an unrestricted free agent in the process."It was funny because every week it was a different story," Huff said Sunday afternoon. "I know everybody associated me with Rob Ryan going to Dallas, and I'm from Dallas so everybody put two and two together. The whole time I knew what was going on and the Raiders knew what was going on."So there was really no panic on our side."The joke, then, was on a wondering fan base and confused media as Huff re-signed with Oakland and was in Napa for camp, though he cannot practice until Thursday, per league rules with any veteran free agent that signs after the lockout was lifted. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.Many saw the No. 7 overall pick out of Texas in the 2006 draft as a bust playing out of position at strong safety his first few years in the NFL, but he has come on of late. Six of Huff's career seven interceptions have come in the past two seasons and he has started 66 of the 80 games in which he's appeared.Huff, 28, has also forced three fumbles and recovered two with a safety and 274 career tackles.Last season, he had four sacks with three interceptions and seven passes defensed."Huff is another one of our tremendous Raiders," said coach Hue Jackson. "he likes being here, likes being with his teammates, loves this organization and truly believes we're building something and wanted to be a part of it and we're fortunate to have him back, and on we go."With Huff not yet in camp, Tyvon Branch moved from strong safety to free safety in practice with Mike Mitchell at strong safety. And before the lockout hit, Oakland re-signed safety Hiram Eugene to a four-year, 10.25-million contract, presumably to replace Huff.There had been rumblings that Oakland could move Huff to a cornerback position with Nnamdi Asomugha now in Philadelphia.But Jackson said Huff is "locked in at safety."Cornerback Chris Johnson said Huff's return will help with the continuity of the secondary."It's perfect," Johnson said. "We know he's going to be in the post, wherever he's supposed to be, he's going to be there. It's a blessing that we got him back. It's time to play football now."Huff said he had no doubt he'd return to Oakland because of the "30 percent rule," which states that a player's newest deal cannot be more than 30 of said player's rookie contract."I didn't field any offers becauseI knew I'd pretty much be back," Huff said. "(Other teams) called but I didn't answer."(The Raiders) drafted me so I've been around here through the bad times. So I'm looking forward to turning this around and being here through the good times."
Also, two days after Asomugha signed with Philadelphia, more reports are swirling that the Raiders are looking at unrestricted free agent cornerback Antonio Cromartie.Meanwhile, all is quiet on the Zach Miller and Michael Bush free agent fronts. At the moment, anyway. Miller is an unrestricted free agent while Bush is restricted.