Frankly Speaking


Oakland Raiders starting left guard Frank Middleton is never at a loss for words. Here's some of his latest notebook saving quotes as the Raiders prepare for Sunday night's game on the road against the Tennessee Titans in an AFC Title Game rematch:

 On starting a new year

"Everything we did last year, we're gonna throw in the dumps and get ready. this is a new year."

 Is their a Raiders-Titans rivalry?

"I think their coach is trying to make them believe there's one because we beat them twice. They're p---ed off. They blew us out in preseason last year. We're gonna do what we do but I don't see a rivalry yet."

So it's not like the Raiders rivalry with the New York Jets?

"It's not like the Jets and Denver and San Diego but in a couple of more games maybe. I think our coaches hate each other more than anything."

Something always seems to happen when you play Tennessee?

"(Albert) Haynesworth went after (Tim) Brown. You remember stuff like that. I don't think of it as a rivalry, it's just good old fun. It's one of them things where it's like you know how your dad always told you just let a sleeping dog lie. It's like they can't do it. We come out and try to be nice and play good football. Then, they do something to kick us in our mouth. They always want to wake us up and make us play dirty but it's their coach. A couple of weeks ago they're talking about how bad we looked in the Super Bowl. They're trying to spark something, we don't care. We're gonna play Raider ball and move up and down the field."

 On Tennessee being a crucial opener

"It's a good statement game. if we go out and win in Tennessee the first game of the year. We can set the pace and everyone can get a little nervous."

 On Tennessee humidity

"Fat boys play better in the heat. I don't know about the little guys. Heat keeps you warmed up. It's harder for me to play here in Oakland. Half the offensive line lives in the South, so it's not going to bother us. We are going home and it doesn't matter."

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