ALAMEDA — The Oakland Raiders thought enough of Brady Quinn to bring him in for a visit when they owned the top pick in the 2007 NFL draft.
The Raiders were coming off a 2-14 season under Art Shell, and owner Al Davis was looking for a quarterback for his new coach, Lane Kiffin. Davis was partial to JaMarcus Russell, whose LSU team destroyed Quinn's Notre Dame team in the Sugar Bowl.
Greg Knapp, the Raiders offensive coordinator in 2007 who returned this season, as well as quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, supervised the visit with Quinn.
“John put him through a pretty rigorous interview process,” Knapp said. “He was extremely bright, understood football, and based on what (his) coaches had told us, he really seemed to love football. Was always around it, wanted to do the extra stuff before and after practice. I was very impressed with him.”
The Raiders, of course, took Russell No. 1. Cleveland also was looking for a quarterback at No. 3 but opted for Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas. Surprised that Quinn was still around at No. 22, Cleveland traded its second-round pick in 2008 to move up and get its quarterback of the future.
Russell is out of football and Quinn, 28, is still hanging on, getting a chance to jump-start both his career and a 1-5 team today when he leads the Kansas City Chiefs against the Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium.
Current Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel was Quinn's first coach in Cleveland. Quinn was 3-9 as a Browns starter, phased out and traded to Denver by coach Eric Mangini and new president Mike Holmgren.
Quinn spent last season watching the Tim Tebow drama as the third-team quarterback, his primary job getting defensive coordinator Dennis Allen's defense prepared each week.
Allen, in his first year as Raiders coach, thinks he'll get Quinn's best shot.
“He's a pro in every sense of the word,” Allen said. “He comes to work every day and works the right way. I know he'll be prepared and ready to go and face us.”