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Robbins Receives Support

January 31, 2003|From Associated Press

Barret Robbins' teammates expressed their concern for him Thursday and seemed open to the possibility of his return to the Oakland Raiders next season.

Robbins was supposed to be in Hawaii with four teammates, playing in his first Pro Bowl. But Robbins spent Super Bowl Sunday in a San Diego hospital after disappearing from the team's hotel and is not here.

The 6-foot-3, 320-pound center reportedly had stopped taking his medicine for depression, and he was missing for nearly 24 hours before the biggest game of the season.

After the game, several players criticized Robbins. On Thursday, some were more forgiving.

"He's a fellow offensive lineman. He's one of my guys so definitely my prayers go out to him," Oakland tackle Lincoln Kennedy said. "I want him to be healthy and happy. It's just a shame his first Pro Bowl he's voted to, he can't be a part of it."

Rich Gannon, Oakland's All-Pro quarterback and the most valuable player of the last two Pro Bowls, said he wants to take snaps from Robbins next season.

"I would love to see him back, but most importantly, I want to see him feel better, and I think that's what everyone's point of emphasis should be," Gannon said. "Not worrying so much [about] Barret the football player, but worrying about him and his family."

Said safety Rod Woodson: "I hope he can work through all the problems or any problems he may be having right now."

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The Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers demonstrated their commitment to keep Monte Kiffin from moving to the San Francisco 49ers or anywhere else, signing their defensive coordinator to a three-year contract.

Terms were not disclosed, but Kiffin already was among the NFL's highest-paid defensive coordinators at close to $1 million per year.

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Indianapolis Colt kicker Mike Vanderjagt apologized to Coach Tony Dungy, quarterback Peyton Manning and the rest of his teammates for criticisms he said came from his frustration with losing.

"Basically, I spoke before I thought," Vanderjagt said in a statement sent to the media by his agent, Gil Scott.

In a Canadian cable TV interview this week, Vanderjagt said Manning should show more emotion, Dungy is too nice to be effective and many other Colts' players lack a passion for the game.

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Former 49er coach Steve Mariucci interviewed for the Detroit Lions' head coaching vacancy.

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