Callahan: Comments 'inappropriate, inaccurate'

Updated: November 4, 2003, 12:54 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- First, Oakland Raiders coach Bill Callahan responded to Charles Woodson's post-game remarks. Now some of his players have come to his defense.

After Callahan, during his weekly news conference Monday, called Woodson's claims that Oakland was falling apart "inappropriate and inaccurate," several Raiders stated that they did not agree with Woodson's assessment.

"That's one guy's opinion," veteran guard Frank Middleton told the Oakland Tribune. "Everyone should speak their own truth. Do I agree? His name is C-Wood, my name is Frank Middleton. Some people are allowed to say more than others. Let's leave it at that. I ain't saying (expletive)."

"I know he doesn't speak for me," added offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy. "Woodson is his own man. Mainly he speaks for himself."

After the Raiders fell to 2-6 with a dispiriting 23-13 loss to the Detroit Lions, Woodson said that the Raiders were unraveling because Callahan is too headstrong and not as good a communicator as predecessor Jon Gruden.

"With Gruden, you knew exactly what he was going to do," Woodson said. "At this point, guys don't know what we're going to do from week to week. [Callahan] might say one thing on Monday, and on Saturday, it's something different. [Gruden] built this team back up to where it was, and now it's falling apart.

"[Callahan] just has to bend a little bit and stop being so stubborn as a person. Everybody can change a little something. You don't know everything. Nobody does.

"When people on your team, coming from different angles, are trying to help you as a coach, you should take that."

Woodson also said that Callahan has lost the team and that "everybody" on Oakland's roster agrees with him about Callahan.

"The more you talk to guys on our team and the more they open up about the situation -- if they choose to do that -- then you'll understand where I'm coming from," Woodson said.

Statements from some of his teammates, however, contradicted that stance.

"It's typical when you get in a situation like this where people want to assign blame," Trace Armstrong told the Tribune. "That is human nature.

"But the very essence of football is to fight human nature. It's about sacrifice, it's about commitment. At times like these, you have to fight human nature and take a look at yourself. You have got to go back to work and hang together as a team.

"In a situation like this, it can certainly get worse. And if you fragment and people start to become concerned with only themselves, then it will get worse."

Asked Sunday whether he still has control, Callahan responded: "No question. I'm very confident."

Woodson does not regret making his spat with Callahan public. He made similar statements in an interview with ESPN during the week.

"I take nothing back I say," Woodson said Sunday. "Everything I say, I mean. And I mean what I say."

He has played in four Pro Bowls. His three interceptions this season give him 15 in his six-year NFL career.

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