Four Raiders facing suspension for THG
Even when there's good news, there's bad news for the Oakland Raiders.
Before defeating the Minnesota Vikings 28-18 Sunday in Oakland, CBS "The NFL Today" and SportsLine.com reported that defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield, center Barret Robbins, linebacker Bill Romanowski and defensive tackle Chris Cooper were notified in letters from the NFL this past week that they tested positive for THG, or tetrahydrogestrinone. It is unclear when the tests were conducted or the urine samples were taken.
Oakland senior assistant Bruce Allen told The Associated Press that he knew of no suspensions stating that the league's program on testing and information "are extremely confidential." He added, "So any reports out of that, someone's either violating the law or making them up. I hope they're able to find the people who spread false rumors."
Stubblefield and Cooper, along with running back Tyrone Wheatley and fullback Chris Hetherington, appeared Thursday before a grand jury probing a nutritional supplements lab -- the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.
An attorney for BALCO founder Victor Conte has confirmed his client is the target of the grand jury probe. Conte has been accused by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency of supplying athletes with THG. He has denied the report.
Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson beat Minnesota wide receiver Randy Moss for the 1997 Heisman Trophy while the two played at Michigan and Marshall respectively.
Woodson also got the better of Moss Sunday as well with the Raiders employing mostly man-to-man coverage. Moss caught just four passes for 25 yards.
"I can't take all of the credit," Woodson said. "A lot of the credit goes to the other guys. The safeties gave me help when I needed it."
The Running Raiders
Last season Oakland passed its way to a Super Bowl appearance but the last two games the Raiders have dusted off their ground game.
Oakland ran the ball 53 times in last week's 27-24 overtime loss to the New York Jets and 43 times for 191 yards on Sunday. Tyrone Wheatley led the way with 109 yards on 32 carries. Wheatley recorded his first 100-yard rushing game since the 2000 season when he tallied 156 yards on 15 carries in a 31-3 win over Seattle.
"It comes together with our boys up front," Wheatley said. "They get in rhythm, and I think it' the only reason why we had the first 100-yard game, because we decided to run it."
No wallowing in the Mirer
For the second straight game, Rick Mirer threw the ball efficiently. Mirer completed 9-of-13 passes for 195 yards and no interceptions. Mirer has completed 27-of-38 passes in his two starts since replacing Rich Gannon and Marques Tuiasosopo, both of whom are on injured reserve.
"I just want to be careful with the ball, yet be aggressive and not give them any balls," Mirer said. "Our defense is doing great things, generating points, giving us the short field, taking the ball out of a dangerous offense's hands."
Minnesota linebacker Greg Biekert and defensive end Lance Johnstone were two former Raiders playing against their former team Sunday but neither was a significant factor in the final ramifications.
Biekert, who still has a home in nearby Walnut Creek, CA, combined for seven tackles while Johnstone tallied two.
Raiders LB Travian Smith and RB Justin Fargas sustained MCL injuries in their left knee while DE Trace Armstrong left the game with a sore left shoulder.n
Oakland's inactive players were RB Charlie Garner, DE Sam Williams, LB Shurron Pierson, OT Chad Slaughter along with DTs Terdell Sands, Dana Stubblefield and John Parrella.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at email@example.com