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In a different arena, Cleeland did his best

Page 2 of 3 -- Not so fast

It appears Rich Gannon is staying put (for now) in Oakland after coach Norv Turner announced last week that newly-signed Kerry Collins would start out as Gannon's backup. There was speculation that the Raiders would jettison the former MVP and his $7 million salary once they signed Collins, who at 31 is seven years Gannon's junior. Now, if Gannon were to lose his job but agree to restructure his contract, Oakland may be able to keep both. Raiders fans might agree that this potential quarterback controversy beats watching Marques Tuiasosopo, Rick Mirer, Rob Johnson, and Tee Martin quarterback their team . . . The Raiders signed Bobby Hamilton cheaply, as in a year at the minimum ($660,000). Guess sometimes it's just time to move on . . . Another former MVP quarterback, Kurt Warner, is expected to be gone from St. Louis and to the Giants by Wednesday or soon thereafter. Other notable post-June 1 cuts could include Broncos defensive tackle Daryl Gardener, Steelers linebacker Jason Gildon, Titans running back Eddie George, Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde, and Redskins linebacker Jeremiah Trotter. Gildon, 31, has missed only two games in his 10-year career and none in the past seven seasons, and while he's lost a step (his sack total has dropped from 12 to nine to six the past three years) and can't cover, he could interest a 3-4 team (Patriots?) as a rare effective pass rusher from the left side. And if Bill Belichick wants to bring in a veteran quarterback to compete with Rohan Davey for the No. 2 job, Testaverde would be a logical signing. He'll be 41 this season, but Belichick and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis know him well from their days with the Browns and Jets. Davey, who has guided NFL Europe's Berlin Thunder to a berth in next month's World Bowl, was benched in favor of David Rivers before halftime of the Thunder's win over the Scottish Claymores yesterday, by the way . . . The scouts are scouted, too, and the Eagles obviously had their eye on Sean Gustus. Gustus joined the Patriots in May 2002 as a personnel assistant in the scouting department after graduating from Richmond University and barely two years later is Philadelphia's Northeast regional college scout. He was hired May 4 as part of a post-draft department shakeup in which the Eagles fired three scouts and their college scouting director. The Patriots "didn't have to grant permission to interview Sean, and we're grateful for that," said Tom Heckert, Eagles vice president of player personnel. "Sean knows that area, played in that area, and he was involved in scouting it for New England. We look at him as a young up-and-comer." Gustus, 25, follows Jason Licht, who last May left his position as Scott Pioli's assistant to become the Eagles' assistant director of player personnel and join Heckert, his former boss in Miami. Gustus was a high school teammate of Eagles running back Brian Westbrook and a quarterback at Richmond who ran the Patriots' scout team offense to help the defense prepare for mobile quarterbacks such as Daunte Culpepper, Donovan McNabb, and Kordell Stewart.   Continued...

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