T.J. Houshmandzadeh is a Raider because Jackson, and not quarterback Carson Palmer, made it so. He said he wanted Houshmandzadeh in July but was overruled by owner Al Davis. Coach Hue Jackson wanted to set the record straight about the signing of free-agent wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
"Carson Palmer had nothing to do with this," Jackson said Wednesday. "I tried to get T.J. during training camp."
Jackson said he and Davis were in agreement that the young receiving corps of Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy, Denarius Moore and Chaz Schilens were the future of the organization, and that Davis opted for Derek Hagan as the more experienced addition to the training camp roster while Jackson wanted Houshmandzadeh.
Since that time, the production of the young wideouts has lagged other than Heyward-Bey. Palmer, the new quarterback, was familiar with Houshmandzadeh, a former teammate in Cincinnati.
Circumstances had changed enough for Jackson to propose to Mark Davis and CEO Amy Trask, who collaborate with Jackson on organizational decisions since the death of Al Davis on Oct. 8, that the team waive Hagan in favor of Houshmandzadeh. Wednesday, the team waived Hagan.
"Hey, like I told you, when Coach makes a decision ... he made it," Jackson said. "Well, now all of a sudden, when I keep looking at our football team and where we are, I say, 'Hey, here's a guy who can help us now that we're in a whole different situation,' and that's why I did what I did."
Hagan, 27, made the 53-man roster by being the most reliable receiver throughout training camp and the preseason, where he had 12 receptions for 224 yards and a touchdown. Hagan had 11 receptions for 114 yards since the season began, including a five-catch, 61-yard game in Week 2 against Buffalo.
"I'll be the first to tell you Derek Hagan has done a great job here," Jackson said. "I love the young man, and what he brought to the table. But if I can add a piece that can make us a little bit better, that the quarterback has some familiarity with, at the end of the day that's what I have to do as a head coach."
-- Houshmandzadeh is relieved that it appears his final football memory won't be of a fourth-and-18 drop late in a 31-24 loss by the Ravens against the Steelers in the playoffs last season. A catch would have given Baltimore a first down. The drop ended the Ravens' season.
"It bothers me because I don't drop the ball," Houshmandzadeh said. "But I dropped that ball, and I'm not ashamed to say it."
Houshmandzadeh had tryouts with the Patriots, Giants and 49ers before finally landing with the Raiders.
-- Running back Darren McFadden (mid-foot sprain) was joined on the sideline by middle linebacker Rolando McClain (ankle), cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), quarterback Jason Campbell (collarbone), cornerback Chris Johnson (hamstring) and place-kicker Sebastian Janikowski (hamstring).
The Raiders feel good enough about Janikowski that they don't have another kicker in camp but no doubt have Dave Rayner's phone number at the ready in case of a setback.
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