TO PO'd by Ravens general manager's words

Tuesday, November 2, 2004 at 1:00am

Eagles receiver Terrell Owens had often alluded to problems with Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome that led to him not wanting to play for the team after a trade was initially consummated last spring. But it wasn't until Owens' book came out recently that the issue was specifically addressed.

The book, Catch This co-written by the NFL superstar and Stephen Singular, claims Newsome told Owens' agent David Joseph that "he was a black man from Alabama just like TO and "that sometimes a black man's gotta be slapped."

Before the two teams played this past Sunday, Owens said, "Initially, I was kind of stunned by it and my agent was kind of reluctant to tell me about it at the time. What a lot of people don't know and I guess I'll let it out now, that was pretty much one of the main reasons why I didn't want to go there after learning that he said that."

Told what the book claims he said, Newsome said, "Please, why should I respond to that? I did tell TO that he should check with the veterans we brought in over the years. I told him to call Rod Woodson, Shannon Sharpe, Michael McCrary and Sam Adams and they will let him know how we treat veterans here. I'm not talking any more about it."

That response prompted Owens to say, "If you listen to his comments, he didn't deny it. He's always said no comment or he doesn't want to go into it. So if you're smart, you kind of know whether he said it or not."

Black Hole revolt

In many ways, the Raiders are probably glad they won't be home again until Nov. 21 when they play the San Diego Chargers. The Raiders are at Carolina this week after visiting San Diego this past Sunday, and they have their bye Nov. 14. After being hammered by the Chargers Sunday, the Oakland fans can't be too happy.

Meanwhile, fresh in the team's minds is the reaction of fans after two straight home losses to Denver and New Orleans on Oct. 17 and Oct. 24. In many ways, the Black Hole turned on the Raiders.

Tackle Barry Sims said the fans "sucked" after a torrent of boos cascaded down after the loss to the Broncos.

The following week, quarterback Kerry Collins played along with the fans, actually waving his arms like the leader of an orchestra, which of course resulted in the booing getting louder.

"I guess it's the competitor in me," Collins said. "I get fired up. People are down on you, calling for you to get pulled and all that kind of stuff. It gets my juices going. I guess I just wanted to show them that they can boo loud as they want, it isn't going to bother me."

Wide receiver Jerry Porter, who had previously spoken out about wanting to leave the team because of trade rumors, also was the target of boo-birds.

Said Porter, "On any given day the Raiders can say to hell with me and go in a different direction. I have to think of me first and think of my family rather than think about this team. (If) they don't like the fact that I have to look out for me and my family's best interests ... well, sorry to hear it."

Griese the guy

Brian Griese will remain Tampa Bay's starting quarterback even after Chris Simms is healthy. Griese has completed over 70 percent of his passes since replacing the injured Simms Oct. 10 against New Orleans.

"If he keeps going like he's going, we might have to get a lifetime contract going here," coach Jon Gruden said. "There will be no debate if he keeps playing the way he's playing.

"We like Chris Simms. We think he's going to be an outstanding pro. But if you continue to throw for 70, 72, 74 percent and make great decisions and make clutch throws in key situations, you're good for Tampa Bay Buccaneer football."

Griese's current passer rating is 102.0.

"I don't know a lot of guys with a new team and a new system who could come in there and complete 73 percent [of his passes]," Gruden said.

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