Rhodes to stay but changes coming

Dominic Rhodes

Lane Kiffin shot down rumors that the Raiders were preparing to release running back Dominic Rhodes but does acknowledge the team might make some changes in the backfield.

Internet stories popped up over the weekend that the team was intent on cutting ties with Dominic Rhodes, who missed the first four games of the season due to suspension and has been relegated primarily to special teams since his return.

Jay Glazer of FOX and Chris Mortensen of ESPN both reported that the Raiders were holding off releasing Rhodes because owner Al Davis doesn't want former Raider coaches Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan to have a chance at claiming him off waivers. Kiffin, however, said the Raiders have no intention of getting rid of Rhodes, whom they signed in the offseason. The Oakland coach even sought Rhodes once he heard the rumors.

"Someone else mentioned that to me, too," Kiffin said Monday. "The first thing I did was I went to Dominic and said I have not had any conversations with anybody about that."

However, Kiffin did say the team is looking to get Justin Fargas more involved in the running game.

With LaMont Jordan struggling to find the rhythm and success he had earlier in the season, Kiffin said Oakland plans on giving Fargas more playing time in the backfield. Fargas led Oakland with 61 yards on 12 carries against Tennessee on Sunday while Jordan was held to 16 yards on 12 attempts.

"The plan going in was we were going to give Justin more of an opportunity," Kiffin said. "He hadn't had many carries the previous two weeks and that was coming off a good game in Miami. He responded and he ran the ball really well, so we're going to continue to look at giving Justin more carries."

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