Raiders Notebook - Final Cuts

In the immediate aftermath of the Raiders' preseason loss to Dallas last Thursday, center Barret Robbins openly wondered whether he had a future in Oakland or not. Robbins can stop worrying now. When the team announced its final roster cuts Sunday, Robbins was not among them. <BR><BR>

''I feel so loyal to this organization because of the chances they've given me, from the start up to standing behind me after what happened in the Super Bowl, giving me a chance to work through those things, being patient in the process,'' said Robbins. ''Not only that, but I was having knee problems and medication. I'm really grateful for the way they treated it. I can't say enough about the way I've been treated and the opportunity I've been given.''

Oakland's starting center since 1997, Robbins gained national attention when he disappeared from the Raiders two nights before Super Bowl XXXVII this past January. He was subsequently suspended from the team and, in the offseason, diagnosed and treated for bipolar disorder and alcoholism.

During training camp and into the preseason, Robbins practiced primarily with Oakland's second-team offense. He spent little time with the starters while continuing to recover from offseason knee surgery.

Head coach Bill Callahan refused to name his starting center for the Raiders' season-opener at Tennessee but did say it wouldn't be Robbins.

''He is still going to need time to come around to get to be 100 percent to where he was at when we ended the season,'' said Callahan. ''Outside from that we're confident that he will contribute and that he'll play this season.''

In other roster moves the Raiders traded second-year defensive end Kenyon Coleman to the Dallas Cowboys for an undisclosed draft choice. Oakland also released running back Madre Hill, the team's second-leading rusher in the preseason, along with fullback Cecil Martin, linebacker Shurron Pierson, defensive tackle Junior Ioane, defensive end Derrick Ham, linebacker Tim Johnson, wide receiver Marcus Knight, cornerback Tony Lukins, wide receiver Willie Quinnie, offensive linemen Justin Bland, Joe Wong and Dustin Rykert and tight end David Newman. The Raiders also placed safety Keyon Nash on the waived/injured list.

But it was Robbins who was foremost on everyone's mind.

''Barret, from the beginning, we said had a lot of obstacles to overcome,'' said Allen. ''To his credit, he achieved his objective, which was to be on this team. He had a tight rope to walk on and the difficulties (he faced) are well-documented. He did it.''

In the aftermath of the Super Bowl disappearance, some of Robbins' teammates on the Raiders had openly questioned their ability to share a locker room with him again. Seven months later, however, it's a different story.

Support for Robbins has come in droves, from his teammates and fans.

''I never doubted that Barret was going to come be with us,'' said Oakland right tackle Lincoln Kennedy. ''This experience has humbled him ... but I knew Barret was going to be a part of this team.''

SB Report Top Stories