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AFC Playoffs/ Championship | OAKLAND-TENNESSE REPORT

Hendricks Stays Close to Raiders

January 20, 2003|Sam Farmer and Bill Plaschke | Times Staff Writers

OAKLAND — Ted Hendricks' last game as a Raider was the Super Bowl in 1984.

And, boy, does that feel like a long time ago.

"Yeah," said Hendricks, a Hall of Fame linebacker, "it's been too much of a drought. They should have more rings than just the ones we've got."

Hendricks, who lives in Chicago, has attended several games this season, as have Jack Tatum, Jim Otto, Jim Plunkett and many other former Raiders.

"We all keep in touch," Hendricks said. "Even though we haven't seen them for such a long time, it's like family to us."

Hendricks said he recently spoke with Rod Martin, who had three interceptions in Super Bowl XV when the Raiders defeated the Eagles.

"Rod's still waiting for his co-MVP award," he said, chuckling. "He got his third interception in the fourth quarter, but they do the Super Bowl MVP voting in the third quarter so that didn't factor in."

Maybe Martin can re-open his case. He lives in Southern California and, Hendricks said, plans to be in San Diego for the Super Bowl.

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One subplot to a Raider-Buccaneer Super Bowl is the connection between quarterbacks Rich Gannon of Oakland and Brad Johnson of Tampa Bay, longtime friendswho played together in Minnesota.

"I know Brad very, very well and we talk," Gannon said. "In fact, he called me at my home, my off-season home in Minnesota, as soon as he found out that [Coach Jon] Gruden was going down there, and tried to pick my mind and find out what he was all about. And I think I did a pretty good job of breaking that down for him.

"And they formed a pretty good partnership down there, and I've got a lot of respect for Brad, as well. He's a tough competitor and he's done a great job with that team."

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That there will be only one week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl this season works against the Raiders, who have 14 players in their 30s and one 40-year-old named Jerry Rice.

After three previous Super Bowls with two weeks of rest, Rice said this could be an uncomfortable first.

"I had such a great time when we went three times and we had two weeks to prepare for it, because it gives you a chance to really just prepare the right way, take a little time off, heal up and get ready for the big game," Rice said. "But we got to jump on an airplane [today] and go to San Diego, so whatever it takes."

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There's actually a USC-UCLA connection to the Oakland-Tampa Bay game. Lane Kiffin, who coaches Trojan receivers, is the 27-year-old son of Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. And Brian Callahan, son of Raider Coach Bill Callahan, is a fourth-string quarterback for the Bruins.

Lane Kiffin played a pivotal role in the recruiting of freshman All-American receiver Mike Williams. Brian Callahan, who wants to become a coach, is a walk-on freshman who was a backup at national power Concord De La Salle High.

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Raider cornerback Charles Woodson and running back Charlie Garner did their postgame news conference together, sitting behind a table in an auditorium next to the locker room. They dressed alike, each wearing three-piece suits and fedoras. Woodson's hat was gray, Garner's powder blue.

Same tailor?

"It looks that way," Woodson said. "But no."

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