|Former Raiders coach Bill Callahan denies accusations that he ‘sabotaged’ Super Bowl vs. Buccaneers||01.23.13 at 6:49 am ET|
Former Raiders receivers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice accused then-coach Bill Callahan of sabotaging the Super Bowl against the Buccaneers 10 years ago because of Callahan’s friendship with Bucs coach (and former Raiders boss) Jon Gruden.
The players claim Callahan changed the team’s game plan from a run-heavy strategy to a pass-oriented approach two days before the game, knowing it would give the players too little time to adjust. Tampa Bay went on to a 48-21 victory.
“We all called it sabotage, because Callahan and Gruden was good friends, and Callahan had a big problem with the Raiders, hated the Raiders, and only came because Gruden made him come,” Brown said Monday in an interview on Sirius XM Radio.
Some players, including quarterback Rich Gannon and linebacker Bill Romanowski, defended Callahan, but Rice agreed with Brown’s assessment.
“I was very surprised that he waited till the last second, and I think a lot of the players, they were surprised also, so in a way, maybe because he didn’t like the Raiders he decided, ‘Hey, look, maybe we should sabotage just a little but and let Jon Gruden go out and win this one.’ ” Rice told ESPN.
Callahan, now the Cowboys offensive line coach, responded with a statement on Tuesday.
“While I fully understand a competitive professional football player’s disappointment when a game’s outcome doesn’t go his team’s way, I am shocked, saddened and outraged by Tim Brown’s allegations and Jerry Rice’s support of those allegations made through various media outlets over the last 24 hours,” he said. “To leave no doubt, I categorically and unequivocally deny the sum and substance of their allegations.”
|Top Stories of 2012, No. 9: Wes Welker franchised, phased out, back to form||12.25.12 at 3:04 pm ET|
Over the final week of 2012, WEEI.com will count down the top 10 stories of the year in Boston sports. Our second entry in the countdown is No. 9: Wes Welker’s up-and-down year.
For five seasons in New England, Wes Welker seemingly could do no wrong, and it seemed unfathomable that the Patriots would not want to keep him in Foxboro for as long as possible.
Then came the drop in February’s Super Bowl loss — a difficult but catchable pass that went through Welker’s hands late in the fourth quarter. Instead of giving the Patriots a likely game-ending first down, it gave the Giants the opportunity for their game-winning drive. And suddenly Welker’s true value was being questioned by some. It didn’t help that the Patriots played hardball during contract negotiations in the offseason, electing to place the franchise tag on Welker and settle for a one-year contract rather than agree to a long-term deal.
The $9.5 million, one-year deal ensured that Welker would stay with the Patriots through the 2012 season. After that, who knows?
It certainly is possible that Welker could re-sign with the team after the season, but judging by his consistency and continued success, he might demand a larger contract next year, both in terms of money and years. For now, he is enjoying another tremendous season after professing happiness that he and the team were able to agree on a deal that kept him with a perennial Super Bowl contender.
“There are 9.5 million reasons why I wouldn’t miss any regular-season games,” Welker said during a May 14 appearance on Mut & Merloni, dismissing speculation that he would hold out for a long-term contract. “I don’t think there are any sort of hard feelings on my side or their side. I think we’re all looking forward to the 2012 season and hopefully do some big things there.”
Welker did not exactly do “big things” in the first couple of games this season, but he was not solely to blame. In the Patriots’ 34-13 victory over the Titans in Week 1, Welker’s playing time was limited and he had only three receptions for 14 yards while being targeted just five times (including a drop on third-and-8 in the first quarter). Speculation abounded that he was being phased out of the offense, either as punishment for asking for too much money or so fellow receivers such as Julian Edelman could get more of an opportunity.
Week 2 was better for Welker, as he finished with five catches for 95 yards, albeit in a 20-18 loss to the lowly Cardinals. Still, it was not the 10-catch, 100-plus-yard receiving performance New England fans were accustomed to seeing.
|Jerry Rice: Randy Moss unwillingness to work was ‘slap in the face’||08.09.11 at 10:06 am ET|
Jerry Rice is undeniably the best wide receiver to ever, but the former 49ers great doesn’t think he should have been.
Rice told ESPN Radio on Tuesday morning that he thought the recently retired Randy Moss could have taken the title away from him simply because he had more talent than Rice. (Quotes come courtesy NBCSports.com’s Pro Football Talk.)
“He could have been one of the greatest if he had worked just a little bit harder,” Rice said. “I don’t think he wanted to give it 100 percent. You never knew what you were going to get with Randy. Sometimes you’d get the unbelievable guy, the amazing guy. Other times you’d get the guy that took a couple plays off.”
Earlier Rice admitted that he took Moss’s laziness personally and felt afflicted by the star receiver’s unwillingness to live up to his potential.
“It was hard for me to swallow because I was not as talented and I had to work harder,” Rice said. “To see a guy with that much talent not give it 100 percent, it was almost like a little slap in the face. But Randy was Randy.”
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