Reports of Davis' illness, retirement are premature
By MARC TOPKIN and KEVIN KELLY
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 25, 2003
SAN DIEGO -- With maverick Raiders owner Al Davis declining -- thus far -- to address the national media, there has been a lot of speculation about him.
There has been some talk, fueled in part by comments from Oakland receiver Tim Brown, that the 73-year-old might retire if the Raiders win the championship Sunday. And there have been newspaper stories suggesting Davis is in poor health.
Raiders senior assistant Bruce Allen said neither was true.
"Everyone's been asking if Al's going to retire," Allen said. "I've got bad news for our opponents: He's never going to retire. He's laughing at those reports."
As for Davis' health? "He's healthier than both of our corners," Allen said, referring to Charles Woodson and Tory James, who are playing with metal plates in their legs to stabilize recently fractured bones.
CHOWING DOWN: The Raiders wrapped up preparations Friday with a crisp practice and feast.
After a 95-minute workout, highlighted by quarterback Rich Gannon's sharp passing, the players got a treat -- 500 pounds of ribs, chicken and Italian sausage from Kinder's, the Oakland-area barbecue restaurant that usually caters their Friday practice.
Jacob Kinder and a crew of six trucked two 1,600-pound grills and the food nine hours to prepare the feast at the Chargers training facility. "The players about fell over when they saw us," Kinder said.
Coach Bill Callahan said he was pleased with the players' work, especially the tempo.
"We wanted to simulate game speed today, and the guys did a very good job," Callahan told a pool reporter. "I think we're prepared to cut it loose on Sunday."
For the second straight day, all 53 players practiced. The Raiders will have a mid-day walkthrough today at Qualcomm Stadium.
THINKING AHEAD: Callahan planned to spend Friday night formulating his team's first 15 plays and thinking about what he would say to his players before Sunday's game.
Callahan and his staff begin cultivating a theme Wednesday and add to that during a final meeting Saturday night.
"I generally come in there and give them a theme of the week and the keys to victory and I tell them and reiterate those important aspects," he said. "We'll show a film clip or a highlight film and do certain things to motivate our team, but we change that aspect up. ... When I come in there Saturday night it's pretty much cut and dry what we have to do, and we add a little juice to it as we move along."
MR. (UN)POPULAR: Gannon may be the NFL's MVP, but he's far from the most popular in the locker room, according to a CNN/SI article by Michael Silver.
"Gannon's ultra-intense aura is not a laughing matter for his teammates," Silver said. "Why do you think it was that, after the Raiders' AFC championship triumph over the Tennessee Titans, the mood in the postgame locker room was restrained and muted?
"It all seeped down from the quarterback, who was so instantly focused on the Super Bowl that he couldn't enjoy the victory. The other veterans were similarly nonplused, and no younger player dared whoop it up for fear of incurring the quarterback's wrath."
HOME BASE: San Diego and its surrounding areas are home to several military instillations, including Camp Pendleton and Miramar. Raiders defensive tackle John Parrella's father was in the Air Force for 23 years and remains fascinated with jet planes.
"When I played here, if I was maybe 100 pounds smaller, I might have been a pilot," said Parrella, who played for the Chargers from 1994-2001. "I remember those F-16s flying over (during training camp) and you couldn't help but step back and see them. What an awesome sight."
Back to the Super Bowl XXXVII
Super Bowl XXXVII
John Romano: Gruden right investment for present, future
Gary Shelton: This season, it all seems attainable
No joy in just earning berth in big game
Who's going ...
Wagering options: Oh, yeah, wanna bet?
Notebook: Coleman, Darby practice; Gruden emphasizes focus
Don't give him a microphone
Watch for Raider outside spotlight
Raiders notebook: Reports of Davis' illness, retirement are premature
Bucs going 'global'in preseason matchup
Raiders fans dancing to a different tune
Raiders fans proud, loud, in the neighborhood
Tampa Bay Raiders
High profile: Mike Alstott
High profile: Rod Woodson
Guest analyst: Mike Golic: Perfect matchup hard one to pick
For Janikowski, change is good
Gramatica's ebullience compensates for size
Super Bowl A to Z: Awful L.A. attendance, zany 'zebras' and everything in between
Key matchups as seen by former NFL players
Cue the theme in 'Get Smart'
In brief: Setup perfect for Allen's Hall election
View from above provides best seat for game
Overtime overhaul expected
Internet: Diary has become big news
Radio/TV: Deckerhoff proud of talking up the Bucs
Bucs owners get backlash