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He Delivers the Facts, in Black and Silver

September 13, 2003|Sam Farmer

Sam Farmer, pro football specialist for The Times, is spending some of his time this season swapping e-mail with NFL personnel. This week, Farmer was online with Oakland Raider executive Bruce Allen.

Farmer: What was behind the decision to keep Barret Robbins on the team?

Allen: Barret has been an important part of the Raiders' winning three consecutive division titles and appearing in two of the last three AFC championship games.

Barret had to overcome many challenges in order to get back on football field this year.

His perseverance and dedication to the Raiders earned him a spot on the team this year.


Farmer: Safety Rod Woodson underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee this week. He played a huge role in beating the Broncos on the road last season. Will he be ready for the Sept. 22 game at Denver?

Allen: One of the less publicized reasons why Rod Woodson will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot is that Rod is one of the greatest competitors to ever play the game.

We can assure you one thing: As soon as he can play, he will.

Until then, we will be counting on our other veterans.


Farmer: The Raiders have done a better job of keeping penalty numbers down in recent years. Then, they were flagged 17 times at Tennessee. Is that an ongoing concern or an aberration?

Allen: The game against the Titans was a very physical game and emotional game. Some of the penalties were due to mistakes made due to aggression, several of the penalties were mistakes made by the officials and some were due to mental lapses.

We will continue to play aggressive football and hopefully the mental mistakes will be corrected in the future.


Farmer: NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said the league is going to seriously examine the feasibility of an 18-game season. Do you think any team would be in favor of adding more games to an already grueling season?

Allen: I can't speak for other teams.

As far as the Raiders are concerned, we are interested in any idea that allows the world's greatest athletes to perform at a higher level on the field.

The concept of adding games is something that has been discussed since 1978, when the NFL changed from 14 regular-season games to 16. Further research on the "injury factor" will determine the final outcome.


Farmer: The Raiders were awarded $34 million in their lawsuit over the lack of sellouts at the Oakland Coliseum. But considering that the jury didn't find fraud and awarded less than 10% of the amount the Raiders were seeking, is that a victory?

Allen: First of all, only Bill Gates, Paul Allen and a government lawyer would say that $34,200,000 isn't a lot of money. This verdict was a very good victory for the Raiders and our fans.

A Sacramento jury determined that the public officials lied to the Raiders and the taxpayers and awarded the Raiders $34.2 million.

In the upcoming months, there will be an arbitrator's decision that could award the Raiders' tens of millions of dollars more for other misrepresentations that were not included at this trial.

Maybe at that point the politicians will get the message.

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