July 23, 2008

The Raiders will have all their players present Thursday when they open training camp in Napa, Calif.

It did not appear that way Tuesday evening, when cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said he was strongly leaning toward staying away unless the team agreed not to use the "franchise" tag on him again next offseason.

However, Asomugha said Wednesday evening that he has decided to report to camp and will sign his one-year, nearly $10 million contract.

"I'm going to go in to camp focused and play the year out and see what happens," he said by text message.

Asomugha, one of the game's top young corners, sat out the team's offseason workouts while trying to work out a multi-year deal. When the sides failed to come to terms before a recent league-imposed deadline, the former first-round draft choice sought assurances that the club would allow him to test the market next offseason as a free agent.

Cornerback Asante Samuel and linebacker Lance Briggs received similar guarantees from the Patriots and Bears, respectively, last year after being designated franchise players; Samuel wound up signing with the Eagles this year, while Briggs returned to the Bears.

Oakland officials refused to give Asomugha such an assurance, and after consulting with different inviduals, he decided it was time to end the standoff.

His arrival is critical for the Raiders, who have not won more than five games in any of the past five seasons. Owner Al Davis went on a spending spree this summer in hopes of reversing the team's fortunes, and one of his acquisitions was DeAngelo Hall, a former Pro Bowl cornerback with the Falcons.

Hall and Asomugha are expected to form one of the league's top tandems, provided they get a consistent pass rush. The Raiders were 28th in the league in sacks last season with 27.

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