1-23-13 sports briefs: Callahan denies allegations of Super Bowl sabotage

JOSH DUBOW AP Sports Writer Published:

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Former Oakland coach Bill Callahan has denied allegations made by two of his former players that he "sabotaged" the Raiders in their Super Bowl loss to Tampa Bay 10 years ago.

Former Raiders receivers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice both said in recent interviews they believe Callahan undermined his own team in the Super Bowl in 2003 because of his close friendship with Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden by altering the game plan less than two days before Oakland's 48-21 loss.

"While I fully understand a competitive professional football player's disappointment when a game's outcome doesn't go his team's way, I am shocked, saddened and outraged by Tim Brown's allegations and Jerry Rice's support of those allegations made through various media outlets over the last 24 hours," Callahan said Tuesday in a statement.

"To leave no doubt, I categorically and unequivocally deny the sum and substance of their allegations."

• Football

New coaches: New Browns coach Rob Chudzinski has hired Joe Cullen as his defensive line coach, Louie Cioffi to coach the defensive backs and Shane Steichen as offensive quality control coach.

Cullen spent the past three seasons with Jacksonville. Before joining the Jaguars, Cullen was at Idaho State and spent three seasons (2006-08) with the Detroit Lions.

Cioffi, who has 18 years of NFL experience to the Browns staff, was with Arizona the past two seasons. Steichen joins the Browns after spending two seasons as a defensive assistant in San Diego.

Innovation coming: Fans watching NFL games on television have grown accustomed to the imaginary yellow line that runs across the field in accord with the first-down marker.

That first-down line could one day become part of the in-game experience at all 32 NFL stadiums.

Alan Amron, with financial backing from former NFL player and broadcaster Pat Summerall, has developed the First Down Laser System. Amron said the system projects a first-down line across the field that can be seen in the stadium and on TV.

Change possible: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday that coach Jason Garrett may give up play-calling duties on offense.

Speaking to reporters at Senior Bowl practices, Jones said offensive line coach Bill Callahan could inherit play-calling duties, but stopped short of saying a decision had been made.

Payton reinstated: Sean Payton is back as coach of the New Orleans Saints.

Payton's season-long suspension for his role in the Saints' bounty program was lifted by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, nearly two weeks earlier than expected.

• Basketball

Cavs make deal: The Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to trade Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a future first-round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Jon Leuer.

The deal gives the lottery-bound Cavs another first-round pick to improve a team that entered Tuesday night's home game against Boston with a 10-32 record -- second-worst in the Eastern Conference.

Irving shines: Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter, including several key late baskets, to help Cleveland get back-to-back home wins for the first time this season with a 95-90 win.

Irving scored 11 points in the final 2:33 on four layups and three free throws as the Cavaliers sent Boston to its season-high fourth straight loss.

Pistons win: Jason Maxiell, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe combined for 38 points and 28 rebounds, and Detroit pulled away to beat undersized Orlando, 105-90.

• Hockey

Wings fall: Michael Ryder scored in the first and third periods, and Kari Lehtonen came within 3.4 seconds of a shutout in the Stars' 2-1 win over the Red Wings.

Lehtonen made 39 saves, but allowed Damien Brunner's first career goal in the final seconds. Ryder had already added an insurance goal with 14:26 left.

Holmstrom retires: Tomas Holmstrom called it the best job in the world.

Holmstrom made his retirement official Tuesday after 15 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, announcing it at a news conference before the team's home opener against Dallas.

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