Jerry Rice takes Tim Brown's side

January, 22, 2013
1/22/13
5:55
PM ET

The Tim Brown-Bill Callahan head-scratching story has gained new legs.

Jerry Rice backed up Brown’s claims that Callahan sabotaged Oakland’s chances before its 48-21 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl 10 year ago. Brown said Callahan changed the team’s offensive game plan late in the week and the team couldn’t adjust. Brown suggested Callahan did it because he wanted his friend and former Oakland coach Jon Gruden to win the game instead of himself and his team.

Rice said on ESPN's "NFL Live" on Tuesday that the game plan was changed and he thought it was “unusual.” Rice said he believed Brown because he was in Oakland for several years and he knew the pulse of the team.

Several other Oakland players, including quarterback Rich Gannon, did not believe Callahan purposely hurt his team. Linebacker Bill Romanowski called Brown “delusional.”

Callahan, now a Dallas assistant, has to address this situation immediately. The only thing at stake here is his reputation. The outcome of the game will not change and Brown’s words are just words. Callahan must defend himself now. If he keeps quiet, the questions will get louder.

This story will eventually go away because it is 10 years old and there isn’t anything tangible attached to it other than opinions. In the end, there is one reason why I think Callahan is in the clear: Al Davis didn’t fire him after the game. If Davis had any inkling that Callahan threw the game, Callahan would have been bounced immediately.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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