McCallum shipshape for Raiders

January 10, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES -- Running back Napoleon McCallum never gives up.

First, the former Naval Academy star, who played in his spare time while serving on active duty at the start of his career, missed the 1988 and 1989 seasons because of his service commitment.

Then, in late November, he was sidelined by an appendectomy, but yesterday he rushed for 81 yards and three touchdowns in the Los Angeles Raiders' 42-24 playoff victory over the Denver Broncos.

"It's definitely one of the best days I've had," said McCallum, who in one playoff game matched his season total of three touchdowns.

McCallum, a fourth-round pick in 1986, was traded to the San Diego Chargers at one point, dealt back to Los Angeles and was released this past preseason by the Raiders before being re-signed after Week 3.

"I love playing football," said McCallum. "I was out of football for a long time and the Raiders gave me a chance to come back."

Defensive lineman Howie Long said he admires McCallum's ability, and criticized the Naval Academy for its handling of the running back.

"I can't say enough about the guy. The guy has been down and out and back about five times," Long said.

"I think they handled the David Robinson situation a little bit differently than they handled the Napoleon McCallum situation. They got [Robinson] out on a technicality of being 7-1. They robbed [McCallum] of a little bit of his time, which I thought was disappointing."

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