Callahan defends leadership role

Updated: November 1, 2003, 12:03 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Nine months after playing in the Super Bowl, the Raiders are 2-5 and reeling. And one of their most prominent players is blaming their head coach.

In an exclusive interview with ESPN's Andrea Kremer, cornerback Charles Woodson was critical of Bill Callahan. The interview will be aired on Sunday NFL Countdown.

"I think that we have a coach with a very big ego," Woodson told Kremer. "You know what I mean and he's not listening to the veterans and that's what's sad about it. You know when you get to a point in life when you can't listen to guys with experience like we have on our offense then I think that's something very wrong. That's the problem."

Callahan said Friday that he has not seen the clip of Woodson's comments. "I don't respond to anything that's negative and I'm not even going to comment on that," Callahan told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Callahan said he had not decided whether to speak with Woodson regarding the controversial comments. However, he did defend his own leadership role with the team.

"By and large, for this team, I've managed it extremely well and I'll continue to do a good job,'' Callahan told the newspaper. "I'm very confident in managing this club.''

Callahan has been unable to revive the Raiders' struggling offense. After thriving last season, the Raiders rank 24th in the NFL in total offense, with veterans Rich Gannon, Tim Brown and Jerry Rice struggling mightily at times. Jerry Porter -- who emerged last year as a talented receiver -- has been hurt most of this season and has yet to be a major factor.

The Raiders have been forced to deal with lots of turmoil recently, including Bill Romanowski's practice-field fight and concussion trouble and Barret Robbins' return to the lineup.

"I'm telling you, this locker room is as tight as it's ever been,'' Brown told The Mercury News on Thursday.

"You just go out and do your job," Rod Woodson told the newspaper. "You get paid to play football. You don't get paid to worry about Romo not being here or things going on off the field with individual players. We don't get paid for those things. We're not psychologists. We can't help those guys with those things."