Ron Borges gets the story of what happened to AWOL Raiders center Barret Robbins. From a quick look at sites around the country, Borges appears to be the first to have broken many of the details contained within his story. A good job by Borges, showing what he’s capable of when not obsessed with petty grudges. My favorite line from the story, one which actually made me laugh at the irony, comes from Bill Romanowski, who says of Robbins: “Obviously, the guy has a problem. He’s got to get some help…Hopefully for his sake, for his family, he’s able to get his life cleaned up, whatever there is.” Gerry Callahan can’t resist taking his favorite whipping boys -Raiders fans- out to the woodshed one final time this season. Dan Shaughnessy flashes the good side of his bi-polar columnist skills. I read the column waiting for the other shoe to drop, for a shot at Boston somewhere…it never came. Kevin Mannix warns us not to write off the Raiders yet. He says they’re still a contender…he fails to mention that according to some reports, the Raiders will be around 45 Million dollars over the cap heading into next season. The team you saw Sunday is likely going to be much different next year. My namesake in Oakland has his work cut out for him. Hector Longo says they’re 50 Million over the cap. Michael Gee comments on the piece Bill Belichick wrote for the Op-Ed section of the NY Times Sunday. I meant to mention the Belichick piece yesterday, but got way too busy in the afternoon. If you haven’t read it, register for free at the Times and check out the piece. It puts many of the “ramblings” type columns that local sportswriters love to do around here to shame.
Bill Reynolds hates the Super Bowl. Nick Cafardo looks at John Gruden struggling to find time to spend with his family. Michael Smith looks at Raider taunts that got Simeon Rice fired up for the Super Bowl. George Kimball and Jim Donaldson write about how Gruden ran the scout team as QB in practice so the defense could get familiar with Rich Gannon’s mannerisms. Ron Borges reports on how that paid off for the Buccaneers, as they were able pick up on some of Gannon’s habits. Michael Felger looks at how the Patriots need to improve on defense. Cafardo catches up with Damien Woody, who will now be going to the Pro Bowl in the absence of Robbins. Kimball also has that in his Super Bowl notebook.
Jackie MacMullan has an in-depth look at the relationship between Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce, how their competitive drive leaves them bickering at times, but that they’re determined not to let it effect their friendship off the court. The sparring came to a head during the Christmas day blowout in New Jersey. Steve Bulpett looks at the two of them as they wait to see if they’ll be selected for the All Star game. Peter May looks at former Celtic Chauncy Billups, settling in as a Piston. Carolyn Thornton says Paul Pierce is coming of age in Walker’s absence. Bulpett’s notebook says the Pistons aren’t out for revenge tonight.
NESN has Bruins/Predators at 7:00. FSNE has Celtics/Pistons at 7:30. College hoops reign on ESPN, with Indiana/Michigan at 7:00 and Florida/LSU at 9:00. ESPN2 has Texas A&M/Oklahoma at 7:00.