Raiders shoot down rumors of Phifer deal

The Raiders shot down reports that they had signed or were planning on signing free agent linebacker Roman Phifer. Oakland senior assistant Bruce Allen laughed off reports that a deal between the two sides had been reached more than a week ago and said Phifer appears ready to sign elsewhere.

''We never signed him. We never had an agreement with him,'' Allen said Friday as the Raiders opened its first mini-camp of the offseason. ''I don't know who reported that. I believe (Phifer) is going to sign with the (New England) Patriots.''

ESPN first reported a deal between Phifer and the Raiders had been reached on April 17, a day after the 34-year-old linebacker visited the team's facilities in Alameda. On the sports channel's website, Phifer's name was even added to Oakland's roster.

But Phifer apparently won't be wearing silver and black in 2002.

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