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Parting Shots

Don't expect Bill Callahan and Tim Brown to exchange pleasantries any time soon.

One week after his dismissal as Raiders coach, Callahan accused Brown of being a negative influence with his teammates after the coach decided to reduce the star receiver's role.

In a Jan. 6, 2004 interview with James Brown on Sporting News Radio, Callahan (right) said he wanted to get Jerry Porter more involved in the Raiders' offense after the fourth-year receiver returned from hernia surgery against Kansas City on Oct. 20. Porter's expanded role would decrease the playing time of Brown, 37, a 16-year veteran.

"Tim was the go-to guy for the Raiders, and I diminished his role on offense," said Callahan, whose contract option wasn't renewed after the Raiders went 4-12 - the worst record for team that advanced to the Super Bowl the previous season. "He voiced his displeasure in the locker room. From there on, he did nothing but complain about that role."

Brown (right) finished the 2003 season with only 52 receptions, his fewest since 1992. His average of 10.8 yards per catch is the lowest of his Hall of Fame career - except for 1989 when he was sidelined after one game because of a knee injury. The franchise's career leader with 99 touchdown catches had just two for the second straight season.

Speaking on his San Francisco radio show Dec. 29, Brown said that Callahan "coached to get fired" and "sabotaged" the season with divisive comments to veteran players.

"Some of the things he pulled this year were so personal towards the team you would have to bring some psychiatrist in here to deal with these guys before they could get over it," Brown said on KNBR-680 radio.

Callahan, speaking publicly Jan. 6 for the first time since his ouster in Oakland, countered: "The notion that I would sabotage the season is absolutely delusional. Do you think that I would coach 26 years to become a head coach in the National Football League, go to a Super Bowl, so I can throw a season? I don't think so."

Callahan also disputed Brown's claim that some disgruntled players wanted to fight the coach. "I think he's grasping with straws right there," Callahan said.

Brown, in an interview with the NFL Network on Jan. 5, said: "It was to that point where you think somebody is going to take a shot at him."

Updated: 1-7-2004


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