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Raiders May Have Problems vs Jets Sunday

Ian Logue
January 2, 2002 at 8:48 pm ET

ALAMEDA, CA — It appears that the Oakland Raiders may have some personnel problems when they battle the Jets on Sunday.

ESPN is reporting that Wide receiver Jerry Rice left the team on Wednesday to be with his ill father in Mississippi and may miss the team’s game against the Jets on Sunday. Head coach Jon Gruden feels that Rice’s family comes first and is planning on Rice not being in uniform on Sunday.

“That’s the place for him to be, because family is most important,” Gruden told ESPN on Wednesday. “We’ve got to plan for him not being here. If there’s any way for him to be here, he will.”

Meanwhile the Raiders may also be without kicker Sebastian Janikowski who was checked into a hospital for cellulitis, a swelling condition, in his kicking foot.

“He’ll remain in the hospital for a day or two and hopefully this thing will clear up and he’ll be ready to go on Sunday,” Gruden said.

It’s a condition that also caused him to miss two games last year.

Oakland’s game on Sunday against the Jets is one that fans throughout New England will be keeping an eye on because of it’s significance to the Patriots postseason. A Jets victory over the Raiders will give New England the number two seed in the upcoming playoffs, and a first round bye. Head coach Bill Belichick knows about all the possibilities, and for now he’s just focused on his team’s upcoming game against Carolina on Sunday.

“There’s all sorts of possibilities, but our focus is just trying to win the AFC East Championship and beat Carolina,” said Belichick on Wednesday. “The Jet-Oakland game may or may not mean anything depending on what we do so we have to take care of our business.”

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