The Los Angeles Raiders said yesterday they will have to live with a decision made by the Navy not to allow running back Napoleon McCallum to play professional football this season.
"That remains a matter between Napoleon and the Navy," said Al LoCasale, the Raiders' executive assistant.
John Herrera, a Raiders senior administrator, added that the team has always stayed clear of the Navy's dealings with McCallum, saying, "we didn't want to jeopardize anyone's career by moving in on it." McCallum played for the Raiders during his off-duty hours last season as a reserve running back and kick returner.
McCallum, 23, received word this week from his agent, Darryl Dennis, that the Navy officially had decided not to allow him to play with the Raiders. Last April, newly appointed Navy Secretary James H. Webb Jr. said he would not provide special accommodations for officers such as McCallum and Navy basketball star David Robinson who wanted to play professional sports.
McCallum, currently assigned to the U.S.S. California in Alameda, Calif., said this week he would submit a request to resign from the Navy and gain reserve appointment status, so he could still play for the Raiders. However, he admitted that request was not likely to be approved.
"He felt he had a commitment, and he wanted to play, so there's going to be some disappointment if you're not going to play," said Herrera, who said he did not know of the Navy's decision until yesterday. "We knew there might be some difficulty in having him in training camp. We were hopeful it would work out, and we're hopeful it will work out in the future."
LoCasale had no comment on the decision and Webb's policy, but said, "We thought the agreement would be continued."
Dennis said yesterday "the issue is not a dead issue," but would not elaborate on his plans.