Raiders

Source: Raiders' Gabe Jackson expected to miss eight weeks with knee injury

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AP

Source: Raiders' Gabe Jackson expected to miss eight weeks with knee injury

NAPA – Raiders right guard Gabe Jackson suffered a fairly significant knee injury during Thursday’s joint practice, and had to get carted off the field.

The results weren’t ideal, but they could’ve been far, far worse.

Jackson suffered a left knee injury and should miss an estimated eight weeks, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area. The Athletic first reported the news.

That’s far better than the Raiders’ initial fear, where there was concern he would miss the entire season.

Jackson had an MRI after Thursday’s practice.

The current timeline could have Jackson back in early October, with plenty of season left to play. The Raiders have a Week 6 bye, and it's possible he could return to practice or play shortly after that if he follows the current timeline.

Losing him for any stretch is a blow, but playing the 2019 season without the star right guard would’ve been a gut punch.

The Raiders could get by leaving him on the 53-man roster during his downtime, ruling him inactive every week. Placing him on injured reserve after setting the 53-man roster and designating him to return would mean he would miss at least eight weeks.

[RELATED: Raiders defense up to challenge vs. Rams]

Head coach Jon Gruden will have to figure out how to cope with Jackson’s injury. Denver Kirkland and Jordan Devey are options at right guard. Jonathan Cooper was signed to play left guard during Richie Incognito’s two-game suspension to start the year, but he could be a factor on the right once Incognito comes back. Denzelle Good is working his way back from back surgery, but remains on the active physically unable to perform list.

 

How Raiders' party culture tradition led to Barret Robbins' downfall

How Raiders' party culture tradition led to Barret Robbins' downfall

Editor’s note: Sports Uncovered, the newest podcast from NBC Sports, shines a fresh light on some of the most unforgettable moments in sports. The fifth episode tells the story of "The Mysterious Disappearance that Changed a Super Bowl," chronicling Barret Robbins' absence from Super Bowl XXXVII.

Party hard, play with a vengeance. Under strong-willed owner Al Davis, the Raiders of the 1960s and ‘70s crafted an image of rebelliousness, with a touch of villainy. They got away with it because they won.

That mentality faded over the years, but never fully left the owner’s suite. Davis believed, until his last breath, that talent would overcome detrimental characteristics. Because he saw it.

Which is why the Raiders were a comfortable environment for Barret Robbins, the football player -- but perhaps the worst of NFL franchises for Barret Robbins, the man.

“We used to drink the night before, get IVs and yeah, played some great games, some of our best games,” Robbins recalled in a 2011 interview with Greg Papa of NBC Sports Bay Area.

“That was the Raider Way, you know,” said Rod Coleman, a Raider from 1999-2003. “You work hard, you play hard. That was the mindset.

“That culture was very dangerous, looking back now because when you’re in your 20s and the world expects you to win every day, every week, every season, it’s a lot of stress and pressure on you. And if you had no one to talk to about it, then, you know, any type of underlying mental issues you have, they’re going to come out sooner or later.”

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

When Robbins was drafted by the Raiders in the second round of the 1995 NFL Draft, he was two years removed from being diagnosed with depression during his time at Texas Christian University. The 6-foot-3, 325-pound center would later be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Failure to receive proper treatment would play a significant role in Robbins’ infamously mysterious Super Bowl 37 disappearance in January 2003 and, 18 months later, also be a factor -- along with injuries -- in the end of his NFL career at age 30.

In the meantime, there were games to win. With Robbins anchoring a potent offensive line, the Raiders dug out of mediocrity and back toward the elite status they once took for granted. After going 4-12 in 1997, Davis hired Jon Gruden as head coach and the team narrowly missed the playoffs in 1998 and ’99.

Oakland went 12-4 in 2000, reaching the AFC Championship Game. The Raiders were winners, again, and Robbins was literally and figuratively in the middle of the revival.

By 2002, they were back in the Super Bowl, for the first time in 19 seasons. Just winning, baby.

“When anything went on in this town -- good, bad or indifferent -- we were above it because we were winning,” recalled left tackle Lincoln Kennedy. “We had Charles Woodson getting arrested for DUIs, drunk and disorderly conduct. And we had guys that were getting in bar fights and guys that were hitting women. We had all this stuff going on, like any other dysfunctional family in the Bay Area, in any area. You know what I mean?

“And when it was all said and done, when you look in the win and loss columns, we had more wins than we had losses. So, what can you do?”

The Raiders offered no counseling or other therapeutic outlet for Robbins’ struggles with mental illness, which led to emotional swings that were greatly exacerbated by drugs and alcohol, both of which were part of his routine, according to the late Mo Collins, the guard who lined up next to him.

“You couldn’t go out and just have a beer with Barret -- or two beers with Barret,” Collins recalled in 2011, three years before he died. “He would never let your glass be empty. It was an all-night event.”

That’s how it was throughout the 2002 season as the Raiders cruised toward Super Bowl 37. If didn’t matter much if Robbins was late to meetings or missing them altogether because he was destroying opponents on game day. Barely raised eyebrows if he was late to practice or missing them altogether because he was marching toward All-Pro honors.

He was dipping deeper into the Raider spirit than any of his teammates and still dominating. The team for a while made attempts, according to wide receiver Tim Brown, to monitor Robbins’ prescribed medication.

“When he showed up at practice every day, the first thing he had to do was come in the training room and take his medicine,” Brown recalled. “They actually kept the medicine there. So, they knew that he was taking it. They didn’t even let him take it home. Once he became that player, that Pro Bowl player, they didn’t make that mandatory anymore. Why? I don’t know.

“But I think, when they look back on it -- not that you blame anything on them -- I think they would have probably done things a little differently.”

The 16 years since Robbins retired have brought considerable advances in awareness and also a broader variety of treatment options regarding the challenges of mental health in society. Most NFL teams, realizing the millions they pay players, now have at least one individual whose role is to help cope with off-field issues.

[RELATED: New details on how Branch found missing Robbins before Super Bowl]

The Raiders now understand this.

In March 2012, five months after Davis died and seven weeks after ex-Raider Reggie McKenzie was brought in to direct the football operation, the Raiders hired Lamonte Winston as their first director of player engagement. One of his core duties was to be available “24/7” for crisis management for players, coaches, staff and families.

Times have changed, even with the Raiders. Unfortunately for Robbins, many years too late to be of any help.

Why Tim Brown blames Bill Callahan for Barret Robbins missing Super Bowl

Why Tim Brown blames Bill Callahan for Barret Robbins missing Super Bowl

Editor’s note: Sports Uncovered, the newest podcast from NBC Sports, shines a fresh light on some of the most unforgettable moments in sports. The fifth episode tells the story of "The Mysterious Disappearance that Changed a Super Bowl," chronicling Barret Robbins' absence from Super Bowl XXXVII.

Barret Robbins' disappearance before Super Bowl XXXVII is one that has many layers. There are many parties to blame for the All-Pro center winding up in Tijuana, Mexico the night before the biggest game of his life.

It's a story about mental illness, a culture that cared only about winning and the dangers of misdiagnosis. Surely, all of those played a role in the Robbins saga. But former Raiders receiver and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tim Brown lays the blame for Robbins' mental break at the feet of one man in particular: Bill Callahan.

Just days before the Raiders were set to face their old boss Jon Gruden and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in San Diego, Callahan, who lived to for the Raiders to throw the ball all over the yard, abruptly altered the entire game plan.

"Monday Morning, we get a booklet that says ‘Game Plan To A Championship," Brown said in an interview for NBC Sports' "Sports Uncovered" podcast on Robbins' disappearance that was released Thursday.

The Raiders' game plan went from ripping the Bucs apart through the air to running it down their throat with just a few days to change everything.

"He said, 'I think we can run the ball on these guys. we have to establish the run,'" Lincoln Kennedy said. "That was his report: We have to establish the run. And I'm like: 'Ok. Let's do it. It's natural. They're smaller up front than us."

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

For a team to have a great week of practice, and then get an entirely new game plan to learn and perfect just days prior to the biggest game of the season was something almost no one could believe.

"It was a shocker to everybody," Rod Woodson said. "I know for me, I just couldn't believe it. I dropped my book in the meeting when he said it. I know in my 17 years of playing, even in the preseason you don't do that."

While every member of the Silver and Black was stunned, Robbins was the one it impacted the most. Brown believes the new game plan was devastating for Robbins.

"The guy who this is going to affect the most is Barret Robbins," Brown said. "Because Barret Robbins is the one who has to make all the calls. He is begging Callahan, 'Don't do this I don't have time to prepare for this. Please don't do this.' I was with him, and he's begging him, 'You can't do this to me.' 'No, this is what we are going to do. This is what we are going to do.' Well, it's that night that Barret went out and went AWOL -- that night. Now, does one have to do with another? I say yes. You may say no. I say yes."

[RELATED: The real reason Barret Robbins missed Super Bowl XXXVII]

After the sudden game plan change, Brown and the Raiders knew their title dreams were over.

"So we go into the Super Bowl knowing that we don't have a chance to win," Brown said.

That Friday, Robbins partied all day and night in San Diego and the part extended to Tijuana where he partied for all of Saturday. Robbins made it back to San Diego, where defensive back Calvin Branch found him crying in a cab Saturday night. Branch tried to sneak Robbins back into the team hotel and into the lineup for the biggest game of their lives, but his plan was foiled.

Robbins was diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly after, when he was sent to the Betty Ford Clinic in Riverside.

Robbins missing the biggest game of his life was due to a confluence of events that is unpacked in NBC Sports' latest Sports Uncovered podcast, which debuted Thursday.

While all of the blame can't be laid at Callahan's feet, it's possible the last-second change in game plan had a huge impact on Robbins' mental state and led to his absence from the Raiders' disappointing loss to Gruden in the Super Bowl.