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Raider Center Is Out

January 27, 2003|Sam Farmer | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Barret Robbins, a Pro Bowl center for the Oakland Raiders, missed the Super Bowl on Sunday, apparently because he violated team rules. Conflicting reports said Robbins either was sent home to the Bay Area or had been admitted to a local hospital.

Robbins reportedly was not with the Raiders for their Saturday walk-through at Qualcomm Stadium -- even though Coach Bill Callahan told a pool reporter at the time that every player was present and accounted for -- and was told not to attend the team's 8:45 p.m. pregame meeting.

A San Diego police official said the Robbins situation is "not a police issue" and that the department is not investigating it.

Raider players took pains to distance themselves from Robbins after the game.

"Barret Robbins is not the backbone of this offense," guard Frank Middleton said.

"If somebody chooses to do something wrong, that's on him. We feed our family and he feeds his. Once they told us what happened, we picked up and moved on."

In the week leading up to the game, Robbins seemed distant and almost trancelike during interview sessions. Often, he pulled a baseball cap over his eyes and wore a headset as teammates participated in interviews around him.

Robbins was replaced in the lineup by Adam Treu, who started 14 games last season because of a knee injury to Robbins.

Callahan was curt when asked about Robbins and any adverse effect the center's absence might have had.

"It was no distraction because I eliminated it," Callahan said. "He was essentially dismissed [Sunday]. I dismissed him and sent him back to Alameda [site of the Raiders' training facility]. He had missed some responsibilities and obligations."

Robbins missed the final two games of the 1996 season under circumstances that were equally murky.

The night before a game at Denver on Dec. 15, 1996, Robbins was wandering the halls of a team hotel and startled a Bay Area reporter by following him to his room in a wordless stupor. He didn't play in the game the next day and he spent at least a day in a Denver hospital getting treatment for what the Raiders called "an adverse reaction to medication."

In 1997, Robbins told reporters he was suffering from depression at the time and later improved when he switched medications.

In 1989, Cincinnati fullback Stanley Wilson missed the Super Bowl when he was found in the shower of his hotel room after going on a cocaine binge.

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Times staff writer Helene Elliott contributed to this report.

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