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Russell not upset with release from Steelers

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Monday, Dec. 7, 2009
 

• Gary Russell scored the first touchdown of Super Bowl XLIII a year ago for the Steelers.

Less than three months later, the Steelers released the backup running back and goal-line specialist with no explanation. Sunday, Russell made his return to Heinz Field for the first time with no hard feelings toward the organization. "I know it was a business (decision)," Russell said. "It was a great opportunity for me to go somewhere else. It didn't shock me. You are somewhere one day and another the next." Russell went from the Steelers to Cincinnati and finally out to Oakland, where he was cut and then re-signed two months ago. Russell is the Raiders' primary kick returner. He had four returns for an average of 18 yards.

• The Raiders finished the game with two backup offensive linemen in the game. C Samson Satele and LG Robert Gallery both were injured and did not return.

• First-round draft pick WR Darrius Heyward-Bey was inactive because of a foot injury, and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Louis Murphy got the start in place of Heyward-Bey and caught four passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner.

• Oakland coach Tom Cable said he felt really good when comparing his receivers to the Steelers' defensive backs. "It felt like we had a real matchup issue for them with our receivers," Cable said. "If we protected (quarterback Bruce Gradkowski), he's (going to) have a shot at times. Gradkowski was sacked three times in 39 times he dropped back to throw. He has 33 attempts to go along with three sacks and three scrambles that netted 20 yards.

• Inactives for the Raiders were Heyward-Bey, LB David Nixon, OT Khalif Barnes, OL Erik Pears, WR Javon Walker, WR Nick Miller and DE Greg Ellis. Charlie Frye was the third quarterback.

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