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Rice backs Brown's 'sabotage' theory; other teammates reject claim

The SportsXchange

Rich Gannon and Bill Romanowski disagreed with former teammate Tim Brown's claims that then-coach Bill Callahan sabotaged the Raiders'chances in Super Bowl XXXVII, but fellow receiver Jerry Rice said Tuesday that he sides with Brown.

"For some reason -- and I don't know why -- Bill Callahan did not like me," Rice told ESPN on Tuesday. "In a way, maybe because he didn't like the Raiders, he decided, 'Maybe we should sabotage this a little bit and let (Tampa Bay coach) Jon Gruden go out and win this one.'"

Gannon, the Raiders' quarterback who won the NFL's MVP award in 2002, said on SiriusXM, "In terms of Bill Callhan, let me just say this: He was a good football coach, he was a good man. We all wanted to win."

Brown contended in comments Saturday that Callahan altered the game plan two days before the Super Bowl from a run-oriented design to a passing-dominated attack.

"I think that what happened was that we came out and tried to run the football early in that game," Gannon said. "We didn't have a lot of success. We fell behind and at that point we started throwing the ball too much."

Romanowski, a former linebacker, disputed Brown's theory, calling his accusations "complete crap."

"He absolutely couldn't be further from the truth," Romanowski said on WPEN-FM in Philadelphia. "He doesn't know what he's talking about. And I'll tell you what, I'm blown away that something like that would come out of an intelligent man's mouth."

Rice believes the altered game plan undoubtedly had an effect on center Barrett Robbins, who left the Raiders the day before the game.

Former New York Jets coach Eric Mangini backed Callahan, who was a member of Mangini's staff in 2008.

"There is no possible way that Bill Callahan would ever sabotage the Super Bowl or any other game as a head coach, as an assistant coach, as anybody affiliated with the team," Mangini said, according to "That's not who he is. When I first saw this article I thought, 'This is ridiculous,' and the only thing that would be more ridiculous is if somebody actually believed it."

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