-- Oakland Raiders center Barret Robbins, who was barred by Coach Bill Callahan from playing in the Super Bowl on Sunday after a 24-hour unexcused absence, will not play in his first Pro Bowl on Sunday in Honolulu after team doctors did not clear him medically to participate.
Robbins, 29, an eight-year NFL veteran, has had a history of depression and mental illness and remained hospitalized in the San Diego area today, according to a source familiar with his situation. He was reportedly disoriented and likely to remain hospitalized at least another 24 hours, according to an ESPN report.
He had been scheduled to start in the Raiders' 48-21 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII, but was added to the team's inactive list Sunday morning and was not at the game.
According to an NFL spokesman, any Pro Bowl player on either Super Bowl team must be cleared by his team's medical staff in order to play in the all-star game. "The Raiders' doctors did not believe he was physically fit to perform in the Pro Bowl and they notified our office today," NFL spokesman Joe Browne said. Robbins's spot on the AFC roster will be taken by New England's Damien Woody.
A Raiders spokesman said today the team was not commenting further on Robbins's situation, and there were conflicting reports about his whereabouts. Callahan had said Sunday that Robbins was "essentially dismissed" from the team and that "today I dismissed him and sent him back to Alameda. He missed some responsibilities and obligations."
"What the coach said is what we're saying today," spokesman Mike Taylor said here this afternoon before the Raiders flew back to Oakland early this evening. "It's up to you to draw your own conclusions. These are team issues I won't address one way or another."
Robbins apparently made the team's 11 p.m. Friday curfew. He did miss several team obligations Saturday, including meetings and a practice walk-through at Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday. Four teammates told the San Francisco Chronicle that he had been in nearby Tijuana, Mexico, on Saturday. He returned to the team hotel in time for a mandatory meeting Saturday night, but was told by team officials not to attend.
According to sources, Callahan decided to scratch Robbins on Sunday morning and he informed league officials the player would be inactive. Callahan also told Robbins to leave the team hotel and spend the day at the hotel for Raiders family members. Robbins's wife and other family members were there.
The Chronicle reported Monday that league sources confirmed that Robbins, distraught over not being able to play, was initially treated Sunday by a league emergency response team that included two San Diego area physicians -- Til Jolley and Ricardo Martinez.
Neither physician could be reached to comment today, and Robbins's agent, Dallas-based Drew Pittman, was not available to comment.
Robbins has at times battled to control his emotions on the field. Robbins picked up a costly personal foul penalty during a September meeting with Tennessee when he struck Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth during the Raiders' 52-25 victory.
At the time, Callahan termed Robbins's reaction as "completely and totally uncalled for," according to the San Jose Mercury News. "We've got to do a better job in this respect because it's intolerable." Late last season, Robbins was ejected from a game against Baltimore for kicking Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis.
He also missed two games after being hospitalized for five days in December 1996 with what team officials said at the time was a chemical imbalance triggered by the flu and an adverse reaction to medications.
Doctors reportedly were treating him for depression with medication and he appeared to recover. He told reporters at the time that he suspected he suffered from depression during his college days at Texas Christian University, but it wasn't diagnosed at the time.
Besides missing the Super Bowl, it appears that Robbins's career with the Raiders may be at an end. Under the terms of a five-year contract extension Robbins signed in 1999, the Raiders agreed to pay him an average of $3.7 million annually, and his salary cap number for the 2003 season would have been $4.28 million.
After Sunday's loss, when his presence may have made some difference on the offensive line, several teammates criticized his absence.
"No guy is bigger than the team," said Raiders guard Frank Middleton. "If someone chooses to do something wrong, that's on him. We feed our family and he's got to feed his. Once they told us what happened, we picked up and moved on. We're a team, not an individual."
Others were more sympathetic. When asked after the game if he was angry with Robbins, linebacker Bill Romanowski said: "No. The guy's got a problem, and he has to do what he has to do. The guy has got to get some help."