Friday, July 23, 2004
Updated: July 28, 9:58 AM ET
Robbins' tenure with Raiders comes to end
ESPN.com news services
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Former Pro Bowl center Barret Robbins was
released by the Oakland Raiders on Friday, a week after he and two
other players were fined three game checks for testing positive for the steroid THG.
Robbins confirmed to The Associated Press that he had failed the exam and added, "I'm OK. I just don't want to talk about this right now."
ESPN.com's John Clayton reported that Robbins also failed a team physical Friday. His agent, Drew Pittman, said Robbins asked the Raiders Thursday for his release and was granted it Friday.
"We asked the Raiders to release him because he's not healthy enough to play," said Pittman.
Robbins was attempting a comeback from several debilitating knee surgeries, his agent told ESPN.com, but believed his inability to recover sufficiently from the surgeries put his return in jeopardy.
With Robbins' release, the Raiders will gain some needed cap room to sign their draft choices. Robbins had restructured his contract by taking his base salary down to $1.2 million.
Robbins, who began training camp last year on the physically
unable to perform list, missed two meetings and a walkthrough
practice before the 2003 Super Bowl and didn't play in the game.
Bill Callahan, then the Raiders coach, said Robbins was incoherent
and didn't know where he was when he showed up Saturday night
before the game.
Callahan deactivated him and Adam Treu started in his place.
Last season, Robbins showed a new dedication to the Raiders and
his teammates following several months of difficulty following that
game. He is a recovering alcoholic and was subsequently diagnosed
with bipolar disorder. He spent 31 days at the Betty Ford Center
and was determined to repair his image -- and to return to the
Raiders alongside a few teammates who initially didn't want him
Robbins, teammate Chris Cooper and free agent Dana Stubblefield
were fined three game checks last week for the THG violation. The
case had been pending since last fall and the checks were for 2003
rather than 2004.
They also were placed on "reasonable-cause testing" for the
rest of their careers, and will be suspended for eight games if
they test positive for any steroid again.
Robbins, who has played all nine of his pro seasons with
Oakland, said he would like to stay in football, but wasn't sure
what's next for him.
Robbins made the Pro Bowl for the first time after the 2002
season, but did not play in the game. A year after missing the
final 14 games of 2001 with an injured right knee, he was a pivotal
part of an offensive line that helped the Raiders produce the
league's top offense.
"Barret has been a valuable member of the Raider organization
and has been an integral part of the success of the Silver and
Black," new coach Norv Turner said. "He has kept the Raiders
tradition of great centers alive and we wish him well in his future
Robbins said he has appreciated all the support from Raiders
"Keep coming to the games," he said. "It's been an honor to
be a Raider."
The team opens training camp July 29 in Napa, Calif.
John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.