Redskins

Callahan denies allegations of Super Bowl sabotage

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Callahan denies allegations of Super Bowl sabotage

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Former Oakland coach Bill Callahan has denied allegations made by two of his former players that he ``sabotaged'' the Raiders in their Super Bowl loss to Tampa Bay 10 years ago.

Former Raiders receivers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice both said in recent interviews they believe Callahan undermined his own team in the Super Bowl in 2003 because of his close friendship with Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden by altering the game plan less than two days before Oakland's 48-21 loss.

``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,'' Callahan said Tuesday in a statement. ``To leave no doubt, I categorically and unequivocally deny the sum and substance of their allegations.''

The hubbub over a game played a decade ago began Monday when Brown said on Sirius XM Radio that he believed Callahan altered the game plan because of his close ties to Gruden, the former Raiders coach who hired Callahan, and because Callahan hated the Raiders.

``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.

While many of Brown's teammates, including quarterback Rich Gannon, came to Callahan's defense on radio and Twitter on Tuesday, Rice sided with Brown that Callahan's decision to shift the game plan from a run-oriented attack to a pass-heavy offense after a week of practice was done to hurt the team.

``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 bit and let Jon Gruden go out and win this one,''' Rice told ESPN.

Both Rice and Brown also said the decision to alter the plan less than two days before the game might have contributed to starting center Barret Robbins leaving the team that Friday night to go party in Tijuana. Robbins missed a team meeting and walkthrough and was suspended for the game. He was hospitalized and diagnosed as bipolar.

Former Raiders offensive lineman Frank Middleton said in a phone interview that he didn't believe Callahan's change in game plan contributed to Robbins' problems or that Callahan purposely lost the game even if there were bad feelings between the coach and players.

``Callahan hated us,'' Middleton said. ``He didn't want to see a lot of us succeed because of who we were. I do believe Callahan had bad feelings against us. But to say he threw the game, I can't say that.''

Middleton acknowledged that the plan the team used in the game was different than what was practiced but said he didn't know if that was because Robbins had left the team and the Raiders were forced to use backup center Adam Treu.

The Raiders threw a then club-record 619 passes in the 2002 season but originally planned to run the ball more in the Super Bowl to take advantage of Tampa Bay's undersized defensive front. But Oakland fell behind early in the game and had 49 pass plays and a season-low 11 runs.

Gannon threw five interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns, in the lopsided loss.

Callahan, currently the offensive line coach for the Dallas Cowboys, said he tried to win the game and suggestions to the contrary were ``ludicrous and defamatory.''

``Any suggestion that I would undermine the integrity of the sport that I love and dedicated my life to, or dishonor the commitment I made to our players, coaches and fans is flat out wrong,'' he said. ``I think it would be in the best interests of all, including the game America loves, that these allegations be retracted immediately.''

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Derrius Guice's latest injury left the Redskins both dejected and concerned

Derrius Guice's latest injury left the Redskins both dejected and concerned

Redskins running back Derrius Guice has shown plenty of promise when he's been on the field.

But staying on the field has been the hardest part for the second-year veteran. In his first NFL preseason game, Guice tore his left ACL against the Patriots, forcing him to miss the entire 2018 season. In Week 1 of 2019, Guice tore the meniscus in his right knee. He landed on injured reserve and missed the next eight games.

In Sunday's 20-15 loss to Green Bay, Guice was forced to leave the game in the second quarter with another knee injury, one in his ACL repaired left knee. After breaking off a 23-yard run down the right sideline, Guice was upended on a direct helmet-to-knee collision.

The result of the hit is unclear, as Guice will undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.

Interim head coach Bill Callahan, as well as multiple Redskins players, were asked in the locker room about Guice's injury. They were both dejected and concerned for the young running back.

"Just his reaction to it, it was kind of frightening. I know what he's been through," running back Adrian Peterson said. "That's the last thing that he needs is another serious injury. I told him, 'Take the positives. I know you wanted to be out there and finish the game, but it could have been worse than what it was.'"

Guice finished the game with 42 yards on just five carries.

"That's my guy. That's like my little brother," Chris Thompson said. "To see this continually happen to him, it sucks. Every time he's getting, showing what he's able to do, something happens."

Entering Sunday, Guice was coming off the heels of his best game as a professional. In Week 13, the LSU product finished with a career-high 129 yards on just 10 carries to go along with two touchdowns.

While the team has yet to announce the severity of the injury, sports medical analyst and longtime Chargers' physician Dr. David Chao believes that Guice suffered a mild MCL sprain, which would be a positive sign for Guice, if true.

Callahan seemed to be a little more concerned.

"Right now, I'm just worried about where he is currently," the interim head coach said. "Overall, it's unfortunate that he's been banged up and nicked up. I'm just curious to see how he comes out of this game with whatever injury he sustained."

Callahan's concern is certainly warranted. After all, Guice told NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay "all is well" following the Patriots game in 2018, the same game he tore his ACL in. After Week 1, then-head coach Jay Gruden did not report an injury to Guice in his postgame press conference. Later in the week, the team announced he was being placed on injured reserve.

So, if Guice's injuries in the past are any indication, nothing is for sure until the MRI results come back.

"It sucks that it keeps happening to his knees," Thompson said. "That's how he makes his money. Just to see that, it's rough, but I know he's going to do everything, work his butt off to get back."

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ESPN releases Sunday Night Baseball schedule, Nationals make zero appearances

ESPN releases Sunday Night Baseball schedule, Nationals make zero appearances

ESPN released its Sunday Night Baseball schedule for the 2020 season and the World Series Champion Nationals are not on it. 

The Mets are scheduled to play three times on baseball's prime time television slot, while the Dodgers are set to appear three times as well. The Braves are the only other NL East team scheduled to play. 

Here's a look at the schedule so far. 

As you can probably tell, there's plenty of Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs and Dodgers in there.

There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Nationals' roster due to Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon's free agencies, but come on. The Mets?

On the chance the Nationals lose both Strasburg and Rendon in free agency, they still have a great chance at being competitive and intriguing all year. 

Sunday Night Baseball is supposed to be the biggest game of the week and to not have the defending champions once feels wrong regardless of your allegiances.

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