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Raiders Lincoln Kennedy with the AFC Championship trophy during the AFC Division championship game victory over the Tennessee Titans 41-24 at the Network Associates Colesium in Oakland , California on Jan. 19, 2003. / Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Sports

MOBILE, Ala. ?? Former Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Lincoln Kennedy said his former teammate Tim Brown was incorrectly remembering facts about Super Bowl XXXVII when he told Sirius NFL Radio that then-Raiders' coach Bill Callahan "sabotaged" the game by changing the game-plan two days before kickoff.

Though Kennedy said he remembers the script of the first 15 plays being different on the Friday night before the Super Bowl than they were during the week in practice, it seemed more like a bad coaching move than a deliberate attempt to throw the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kennedy said.

"I see his point. (But) I don't think things fell all the way he's kind of painting it," Kennedy told USA TODAY Sports in a phone interview Tuesday.

In a text message from USA TODAY Sports, Gruden -- the Bucs coach then -- was asked if he wanted to refute the allegation, and texted: "Give me a break. No thanks."

Kennedy works as a FoxSports Radio host and understands Brown might have a desire now to be opinionated. The two former teammates talked today, but Kennedy still believes Brown is wrong about the idea of sabotage. Brown said Callahan lost the game because, down deep, he didn't like working for the Raiders.

"When you use a word as strong as that, people think you purposely tried to go out there and lose the game, and I know that not to be true," Kennedy said. "If you didn't like an organization, why would you take them all the way to the Super Bowl?

"Everyone knows the gratification, the rewards that come with winning a Super Bowl. As a coach, you can really write your own ticket elsewhere. So even if you didn't like them, why would you go so far as to lose it?"

The way Kennedy remembers it, the Raiders offense went into that game in January 2003 knowing it would struggle against a defense coached by Jon Gruden, their recent former head coach. Gruden, Kennedy said, "knew our tricks."

"There was only one person in this land, one team that could beat us, and that was Gruden on the other side," Kennedy said. "When we tried to go to our bread-and-butter plays we knew we could hit downfield, if we called them out, they knew they were coming."

It didn't help that Tampa Bay scored 20 points in the first half, which put the Raiders, trailing 20-3, in a must-throw situation in the third and fourth quarters. Kennedy said he remembers having a conversation with Callahan in which Callahan said the Raiders would have no choice but to abandon teh original run-first game plan and throw in the second half.

"It's inconceivable to think we were going to be able to run the ball when we come back out after halftime," Kennedy said.

Oakand lost that game 48-21. Callahan, now the offensive coordinator in Dallas, returned to coach the Raiders for one more season. Callahan has yet to make a public comment about Brown's allegations.

Rich Gannon, the Raiders' quarterback in 2002, said on his own Sirius Radio show Tuesday that Brown was wrong in his feelings about Callahan's intent.

"In terms of Bill Callahan, let me just say this, I think he was a good football coach. I think he's a good man," Gannon said. "There was too much in it for all of us. We had too much invested in trying to become world champions.

"From a selfish perspective, we all wanted to win and I'm sure Bill Callahan was one of them as well."

Gannon, like Kennedy, said he remembered the Raiders failing at attempts to run the ball early while Tampa's defense took Gannon and the Raiders out of rhythm.

"One of the things that we probably didn't do a good enough job of from a coaching perspective, and I even accept responsibility for this, is that we didn't change enough of our calls at the line of scrimmage," Gannon said.

Contributing: Jon Saraceno



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Ex-Raiders OL Lincoln Kennedy refutes 'sabotage' charge

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