OXNARD — If the Raiders felt a sudden need for experienced guards, it didn't panic them into calling holdout Bill Lewis.
There has been no further communication between the parties, not even after Monday's loss of free agent Dale Hellestrae, who had just been penciled into a starting spot.
Nor is Lewis waiting by the phone.
He's planning to sue the Raiders to try to get himself declared a free agent.
"We're going forward," said Lewis' agent, Larry Muno, Tuesday. "It's another remedy. We're just following the remedy process as we see it.
"Bill's position on (not attending) mini-camp, in our opinion it was not a refusal to comply with the club's wishes, but a player without a contract going to camp."
Lewis earned $110,000 last season and has been offered $175,000 for this one, a raise above the $121,000 the Raiders were obliged to offer a player in his option year. The team has refused to bargain further.
Lewis concedes that he signed a three-year contract with a one-year option for this season, but claims that the confusion that prevailed should invalidate it. He subsequently left Joe Courreges, the agent who negotiated that deal, and hired Muno.
Lewis is not your average player, although Raider management does seem to have conflicting opinions about him. His peers voted him the team's outstanding lineman last season, he started 20 of the last 24 games, and the Raiders protected him in the Plan B free-agency period, while exposing such other starters as Mike Haynes, James Lofton, Todd Christensen and Andy Parker.
However, sometime after the draft, the Raiders decided to shake up their line, returning Don Mosebar to center. Mosebar was notified before the start of the mini-camp that Lewis didn't attend.
Whatever Lewis' prospects in court, suing the Raiders may force their hand and produce a trade. Suing, however, does not improve his chances of bargaining with them.
Muno said the suit should be filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Friday.
Remember Greg Townsend, the sleek 247-pound defensive end the Raiders were going to switch to outside linebacker? He reportedly weighed 270 at mini-camp, and he wasn't 247 when he reported Tuesday, either. "One thing, if he is a little large, we have a while to get him down," Coach Mike Shanahan said. "Yeah, he did look a little overweight." . . . Defensive backs and linebackers reported Tuesday. Matt Millen's flight was late. Mike Haynes, Lionel Washington and Russell Carter stayed out until signing their contracts. All are expected soon.