Looks like two rookies to start up front

It looks like the Oakland Raiders will have two rookies starting on the offensive line.

The Oakland Raiders released former Pro Bowl center Barret Robbins, which clears the way for rookie Jake Grove to become the starter.

Much of the focus on Oakland's retooled offensive line has centered on tackle Robert Gallery, whom the Raiders selected with the second overall pick in April's draft. Oakland has yet to officially name Gallery the starter but that situation is likely to happen sooner rather than later.

The Raiders released Robbins Friday after failing his physical. Oakland drafted Grove with its second round pick from Virginia Tech, perhaps in anticipation of this move. Grove was considered by many touts as the best center in the draft. Grove has the reputation for being a physical and explosive center. The Raiders other option could be Adam Treu but he is enormously valuable as a long-snapper.

Robbins finished last season on injured reserve after undergoing knee surgery that required bone-grafting. With the Raiders having drafted Grove, Robbins then became expendable.

Robbins played nine pro seasons, all with the Raiders, after being selected in the second round of the 1995 NFL Draft. Robbins, 30, started at center in 105 games in nine seasons. He was named to his first Pro Bowl following the 2002 season after anchoring an offensive line that blocked for the most prolific offense in the NFL that season.

The part of that season that still lives in infamy came on the eve of the Raiders 48-21 Super Bowl loss to Tampa Bay.

Robbins, who began training camp last year on the physically unable to perform list, missed two meetings and a walkthrough practice before the 2003 Super Bowl and didn't play in the game. Then Oakland head coach Bill Callahan said Robbins was incoherent and didn't know where he was when he showed up Saturday night before the game. Callahan deactivated him and Treu started in his place.

Robbins eventually worked himself back into the good graces of his teammates and the organization. He is a recovering alcoholic and was subsequently diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Robbins, teammate Chris Cooper and free agent Dana Stubblefield were fined three game checks last week for the THG violation. The case had been pending since last fall and the checks were for 2003 rather than 2004.

SB Report Top Stories