Former Raiders star Tim Brown tried to backtrack from the word "sabotage" on Wednesday in a radio interview with "The Dan Patrick Show."

Brown and Jerry Rice both said recently that they believe then-Raiders coach Bill Callahan undermined the team in the Super Bowl in 2003 because of his friendship with Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden by altering the game plan two days before Oakland's 48-21 loss.

"I have never said that he sabotaged the game," Brown said Wednesday. "All I was saying after the game was, you know, the question was asked about this situation, but no one ever said -- and I said on the radio show Saturday night -- that's something that could never be proven.

"We can't go inside the mind of Bill Callahan. ... All I'm saying is, the question was asked. But of course the media hears 'sabotage' and 'Bill Callahan' and 'throwing the football game,' now they're saying 'throwing the football game,' and that terminology was never used."

Callahan, now the offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, denied the allegations made by two of his former players, saying it was "ludicrous and defamatory." He also called on the allegations against him to be taken back.

"Any suggestion that I would undermine the integrity of the sport that I love ... or dishonor the commitment I made to our players, coaches and fans is flat-out wrong," he said. "It would be in the best interests of all, including the game America loves, that these allegations be retracted immediately."


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The hubbub began Saturday when Brown said on Sirius XM NFL Radio that he believed Callahan altered the game plan because of his close ties to Gruden, the former Raiders coach who hired Callahan, and because Callahan hated the Raiders.

"We all called it sabotage ... because Callahan and Gruden were good friends," Brown said. "And Callahan had a big problem with the Raiders, you know, hated the Raiders."

While many of Brown's teammates, including quarterback Rich Gannon, came to Callahan's defense Tuesday, Rice sided with Brown that Callahan's decision to shift the game plan after a week of practice was done to hurt the team.

Raiders: Oakland hired Tony Sparano as an assistant head coach/offensive line coach on Dennis Allen's staff. He replaces Frank Pollack, who was fired after one season. Sparano spent the 2012 season as the Jets' offensive coordinator before being fired two weeks ago.

Patriots: The league fined quarterback Tom Brady $10,000 for an "aggressive slide" in Sunday's AFC title game against Baltimore.

Etc.: Junior Seau's ex-wife, Gina, and four children sued the league, saying the former linebacker's suicide in May was the result of brain disease caused by violent hits he sustained while playing football. The wrongful death suit, filed in San Diego, blames the NFL for its "acts or omissions" that hid the dangers of repetitive blows to the head. Helmet manufacturer Riddell also is a defendant.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.