Raiders More Than Losers on the Field

In a society where we should be leaning on our fellow countryman and fellow teammates, the Oakland Raiders proved throughout the week they were neither winners on the field, nor off it.

Raiders center Barret Robbins has grabbed media spotlight all week throughout Oakland and the country after being suspended Saturday night by Raiders head coach Bill Callahan for Sunday's Super Bowl vs. Tampa Bay. Robbins was reported missing on Saturday and, when finally located, immediately sent to a San Diego hospital to undergo evaluation. But not before Callahan phoned Robbins' wife and told him where she could pick up her husband.

Such class.

So while his teammates (using the term loosely) spent Super Bowl Sunday absorbing a once-in-a-lifetime moment, all smiles in front of the camera, and getting their rear ends handed to them by a real football team, Robbins was placed on a suicide watch, with severe complications from manic depression. Did the Raiders even care? As Richard Karns would say in perfect timing, "I don't think so, Tim."

But there's nothing humorous about a story such as this. And what happened after the 48-21 thrashing by the Bucs and ex-Raider Jon Gruden, you ask? Why, Robbins was immediately used as the Silver and Black's (and Blue) scapegoat for a humiliating defeat to a far superior football team.

Adding more insult to injury, Robbins history of mental illness isn't as much of a secret as some would like to believe. In 1996, Robbins was hospitalized with flu-like symptons, but doctors soon discovered he suffered from depression, a problem which runs throughout the Robbins family. He missed a game in his senior season at TCU, with what was reported as "flu-like" symptons.

Said Raiders OL Frank Middleton, "We're a family. We broke bread together. We hung out together. We went to the movies. And he let us down at crunch time. It hurts. It hurt everybody." Then in closing, Middleton concluded, "I don't know if I'll be back next year, but if Barrett Robbins is, I won't."

Guard Mo Collins backed echoed Middleton's sentiments. "Whatever rock he came up from, he can stay there as far as I'm concerned. I would welcome him back as a business partner but not as a brother. A brother wouldn't leave you hangin' like that."

Apparently Collins description of a brother is a bit two-faced. One could easily argue that a brother wouldn't turn his back on a friend in a time of need, and that's exactly what Collins did. The fact that Robbins has been placed on a suicide watch, with the feeling that he let everyone down and doesn't feel he has a reason to go on doesn't seem to bother the Raiders one bit.

The whole persona of the Raiders clubhouse seams to be, "Me, Me, Me, and to HELL with everyone else." But you know the old saying. Hindsight is always 20/20.

As for what happens next, it's anybody's guess. Robbins will either return to the Raiders, as he is signed through 2007. Or, he could be released by Johnny Raider himself (better known as Al Davis for those of you in Palm Beach County) and be forced to play elsewhere in the NFL, should he choose to.

But for the record, I would gladly welcome Robbins as a member of the Cowboys. If Jerry Jones could hire a specialist to sit with during the week to make sure he's taking his medication properly, then Robbins, a pro bowler, would definitely not receive any complaints from this Cowboy should he make a home in Valley Ranch.

After all, Matt Lehr ain't cutting it.

But I'll save that for later.

Steve Holley is an administrator for He can be reached for comment at

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