Romo dishes on the Raiders

Bill Romanowski is no stranger to controversy and has had more than his share of dust-ups throughout his 16-year NFL career. Now retired and ready to begin work as a post-game analyst for Raiders games, Romanowski chatted with S&BI's Michael Wagaman on Wednesday and offered his views on the Tom Cable-Randy Hanson saga, quarterback JaMarcus Russell's development and a variety of other topics.

Bill Romanowski was one of the most intense players to put on pads when he played for four different NFL teams, the last being the Raiders with whom Romo spent two years. His time in Oakland was marked by an appearance in Super Bowl 2002 but he is most famously remembered for punching then-teammate Marcus Williams during a practice in '03 that, for all intents and purposes, ended Williams hopes of playing in the NFL.

Romanowski is back in Oakland and has signed on with Comcast to be a part of the cable network's Raiders' post-game show. He spent Wednesday at the team's training camp facilities in Napa watching the joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers then met with head coach Tom Cable afterward and came away impressed.

"You know what? I like the head coach," Romanowski said. "I mean, I like offensive line coaches because they're about working hard. At the end of the day, you've got to work hard. You have to be smart, too, but I liked what he said after the draft when he said, ‘I'm the head coach that just says, hey, I do things the Al Davis way. That's what we do here. He's the owner of the team.' I liked that he came out and said it: ‘That's what we do. And you know what? I'm going to go out there and coach the shit out of the guys I have.' (Davis) is the owner of the team and (Cable) is not going to try to make it something it's not. I like that."

Cable has been under intense scrutiny the past few days after reports surfaced that he allegedly punched assistant coach Randy Hanson in the jaw, requiring Hanson to go to a hospital for treatment. Cable insists "nothing happened" but a police report was filed regarding the incident and the NFL has began an investigation into the matter.

Romanowski was asked about the incident with relation to his own situation with Williams six years ago. To his credit, he neither shied away from the question nor did he dance around in his answer. "I have no idea about what the coach did or didn't do, nobody does," Romanowski said. "All I know is I just talked to him for 10 minutes and I like him. I'm going to tell you that straight up. He's a straight shooter, and I said, ‘Hey, if you need anybody to help you out, I've got your back.' It's one of those things where when emotions are high, logic is lost. I don't know what happened and I don't even really care. All I really care about is the Raiders going out and playing good football. If it takes 100 fights out at practice to do that, great. I don't care. I've never been in a training camp where there wasn't a fight."

Romanowski also dished out some nuggets on a few other topics:

? On his new role as a member of the media: "It'll be Sundays after the game and then after the press conference kind of breaking it down on Mondays. Talking about what the coach is saying and kind of get into the mentality of where the team is."

? His initial impressions of the offense: "I think they're getting there. I liked the short passing game in the beginning of the game, just to get JaMarcus (Russell) into the rhythm. At the end of the day that's what I want to see. I want to see him get into the rhythm of the game, get his confidence up, then you can throw it downfield a little better.

"The thing young guys also do, they'll rely on their arm like him … (and) he stares down receivers. You get some of that, and that just comes with learning. It's a little different this year, plus the strength with (Darren) McFadden, the way he looked the other night, I like that. I think that takes a lot of pressure off if you have somebody who can run the football. Him and (Justin) Fargas have a little 1-2 combination. I didn't see Bush. Those three on some level can start for other teams."

? On San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson: "LaDainian's done. I've been saying it and he's done, OK? He's done."

? On wide receiver Javon Walker and his recovery from offseason knee surgery: I think he'll be real key. Now here's the deal: The guy was in extreme pain and he was fighting through it. And as athletes, warriors, whatever you want to call us, they say no pain no gain, but I'll tell you what, it eats at you. You find somebody who's in pain long enough, it just takes a lot of you. The kid's got pep in his step now. He's got a new energy about him that I didn't see. When I see him now he's got it. He's got it, that it thing. He walks around a little bit with his chest up like, ‘OK, I'm ready to go out there and ball.' I see a difference. You see the way he's running routes, the way he's moving around. I'm impressed. I'm very impressed."

? On the Raiders organization: As far as football goes, this is my team. I played for both of them but I'll tell you a true story. When I left and retired, I got one call and only one. I was close to a lot of people, close to a lot of organizations, and it was from Al Davis. He didn't thank me for just being a Raider. He thanked me for what I did in the NFL. He spoke as an owner and as a part of the NFL, that ‘guys like you made the NFL what it is and I appreciate that.' I love Mr. Davis, I do. Sometimes when you're in the media and you have to talk and do interviews, you have to be somewhat critical of things you see out on the field but at the end of the day I want to see this organization kick ass. Because at the end of my career they let me play for another year and a half."

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