No sign of McFadden, Goodson at Raiders practice Thursday

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No sign of McFadden, Goodson at Raiders practice Thursday

ALAMEDA There was no sign of Darren McFadden or MikeGoodson in the portion of Raiders practice open to the media Thursday, leavingMarcel Reece, Taiwan Jones and Jeremy Stewart to handle the reps at runningback.Once the team moved from stretching to drills, the first play was a handofffrom starting quarterback Carson Palmer to Reece, who may get the lions shareof the carries Sunday in Baltimore if McFadden and Goodson cant play on theirsprained ankles.Jones, who has just one carry for two yards this season, was next in line,taking the ball from backup quarterback Matt Leinart on the second snap.GUTIERREZ: Time for speedy Jones to step in at running back?
Stewart, a practice squad running back, was also in the mix, though not nearlyas often as Reece and Jones.In the Raiders 42-32 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday, bothMcFadden and Goodson exited with high ankle sprains, leaving the Raiderswithout many options. Jones got his lone carry on the campaign and Reece wasinvolved much more in the passing game, racking up a team-leading eightreceptions for 95 yards and a touchdown.With McFadden and Goodson still yet to practice this week, the Raiders need ahealthy Reece. Reece did participate fully in Wednesdays practice, despite ahamstring issue, and had his hamstring and calf wrapped during Thursdays drills.He did appear to be moving somewhat gingerly on his left leg, though it didntprevent him from lining up wide and running routes in addition to his reps as arunning back.The undrafted, but versatile weapon out of Washington has just one carry for noyards this season, but Reece has been heavily involved in the passing game. Heranks fourth in both receptions and receiving yards, with 26 and 272,respectively.The only other notable absences Thursday were defensive tackle Richard Seymour,who missed practice on Wednesday with knee and hamstring issues, and cornerbackShawntae Spencer, who is dealing with a right foot injury.
RELATED: Raiders Wednesday injury report -- Seymour sits out
Raiders first-year general manager Reggie McKenzie watched from the back of theend zone as his offensive unit ran drills and watched quite a few balls go offthe hands of his receivers. Denarius Moore bobbled a ball from Leinart, but wasable to get his bearings and complete the catch with his hands behind his back.With a defender breathing down his neck, that ball wouldve likely hit theturf, though. A few plays later, Darrius Heyward-Bey dropped an easy pass thatbounced off his fingertips.Stay tuned to CSNCalifornia.com for the latest on McFadden, Goodson and morewhen Dennis Allen holds his press conference later in the day.

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

Raiders' first-round pick Conley opens up on emotions after off-field issues

ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley’s name has been sullied, at least temporarily. He feared it would be long enough to send him free falling down the NFL Draft.

The Ohio State cornerback and top-15 prospect was accused of rape stemming from an April 9 incident in Cleveland, an allegation he called “completely false.”

The Raiders clearly believe him. That’s why they drafted him No. 24 overall on Thursday evening, and expect him to be a long-term solution in their secondary.

Conley wasn’t sure how far he’d fall after being beaten down by one rough week, when the allegation went public. Reggie McKenzie’s first-round selection and subsequent call was more emotional than expected.

“It made it 10 times more special,” Conley said Thursday night in a conference call. “Just having that doubt in my mind, just not knowing (how far I would fall). Just having faith and having doubt, I didn’t know what was going to happen. When it came, it shocked me. It felt unreal, honestly. It still feels unreal.”

Being a top pick was expected after an excellent career at Ohio State. The rape accusation threatened to destroy his draft-day dreams. Conley has not been arrested or charged in relation to the incident, though an investigation is ongoing.

Conley said he volunteered to take a polygraph test that was shared with NFL teams, and reportedly passed the one he took. He said in a statement there are witnesses and video evidence proving he didn’t do anything illegal.

Conley spent the last few days trying to proclaim his innocence. 

He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police on Monday to discuss the April 9 incident -- he'll also submit a DNA sample, according to ESPN -- where group sex was suggested and a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted.

Conley believes his name will be cleared in time.

“I’m very confident it will be resolved," Conley said. "I took a test today that helps. Then when I made my statement and all the evidence that I have, I feel confident it’ll be resolved.”

Conley admits he shouldn’t have put himself in a compromising position, which occurred at a Cleveland hotel earlier this month.

“I could’ve made way better judgment,” Conley said. “I mean, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I definitely could’ve made a better decision.”

Conley hopes to move beyond it quickly and start focusing on football. He is scheduled to fly west for a press conference on Friday.

Conley is thankful to the Raiders for believing in him despite his recent troubles.

“It’s off the charts, honestly,” Conley said. “Just to know that they have faith in me, not even just as a football player but as a person like that, it speaks highly of them, and I really appreciate it. It’s an honor to be a part of the Raider organization.”

McKenzie: Raiders did their 'due diligence' before drafting Gareon Conley

McKenzie: Raiders did their 'due diligence' before drafting Gareon Conley

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders used the No. 24 overall pick on Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley. This wasn’t a second-round flier or a late-round gamble.

That’s a first-round pick. Rolling the dice this early is ill advised. The Raiders don't believe they did with a selection accompanied by a $5.78 million signing bonus, $10.5 million in total money and a valuable fifth-year option to keep a player in town.

They wouldn’t risk such an asset on someone in serious legal trouble. The Raiders did significant research on Conley, who was accused of rape earlier this week, before making a selection. Results gave the Raiders confidence in their choice. 

Conley has not been arrested or charged over an allegation that stems from an April 9 interaction in a Cleveland hotel.

Conley said the accusations are “completely false,” in a statement released by his agent. He claims to have witnesses and video evidence that he didn’t do anything illegal during an exchange where group sex was suggested. He is scheduled to meet with Cleveland police about the allegation and an investigation into it on Monday.

Conley said he took and passed polygraph test prior to the draft, hoping to avoid a free fall into the draft’s later rounds.

The Raiders clearly believe him. They wouldn’t have used such a high pick on the Ohio State cornerback otherwise. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said the team thoroughly investigated the matter, and felt comfortable using a high pick on someone who sat alone atop their draft board at No. 24 overall.

“We did our due diligence throughout this whole process,” McKenzie said Thursday night, after making the Conley pick. “We trust our research, reports, everything that we have on Mr. Conley. We feel really good about picking Gareon Conley and having him join the Raiders team and having him be a great teammate for our players.”

McKenzie didn’t detail the Raiders research efforts, but didn’t seem concerned about this off-field issue.

“I don’t want to get into all the details,” McKenzie said, “but the bottom line is that we’ve done miles and miles of research to make sure we were totally comfortable with our decision, which we were.”

McKenzie said he spoke with owner Mark Davis about Conley, as he does most first-round options.

The Raiders were impressed by Conley’s workouts and his game tape. The rape accusation obviously gave the NFL pause regarding his draft status, and he slipped somewhat in the first round.

The Raiders are confident following an internal investigation that his legal troubles will pass without incident.

“The research was done,” McKenzie said. "It wasn’t just a gut (feeling). It was based on research, and we’re very confident in all the information that we got.”