Sports

Rhodes' first season with Raiders a bust

ALAMEDA -- When Dominic Rhodes signed as a free agent with the Oakland Raiders in the offseason, one of the first things he noticed was that he would get a chance to play his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, late in the season.

"I believe anyone that leaves a team, they always look and see if they get to play that time, just for the simple fact is it's your friends, and you want to show them that you've still got something," Rhodes said Wednesday. "But I'm definitely excited to be on the same field with some of my old teammates."

Rhodes now must hope that he gets a chance to do more than swap Super Bowl stories with some old friends and actually gets to play an important role in the game.

Rhodes has been inactive the past two weeks and has contributed little this season to Oakland (4-9) as Justin Fargas has emerged as the team's featured running back. He admits to being frustrated by the lack of playing time but says his attitude has improved.

"Being upset and mad didn't put me on the field," he said. "I don't know what's going to happen this week. I hope I do get in there and get an opportunity and get some extended playing time and try to get in a rhythm where I can make plays for this team."

Coach Lane Kiffin said he was looking at playing Rhodes on Sunday as the backup to Fargas. Kiffin said the decision had more to do with how Rhodes has practiced than with giving him a chance to go up against his former team.

"We're not going to play somebody because of where they played before," Kiffin said. "That's not fair to the team. If he plays, it's because we need him to play, he deserves to play and there's something we feel he can help us with."

49ERS INK WEINKE -- Chris Weinke signed with the San Francisco 49ers, whose top two quarterbacks are hurt.

He has been out of football since the Carolina Panthers released him in March after six seasons, mostly as a backup. The 35-year-old quarterback played six years of minor-league baseball before winning the Heisman Trophy at Florida State in 2000.

Shaun Hill, a career third-stringer, is expected to start Saturday against Cincinnati. Hill had never thrown an NFL pass in six seasons before last Sunday.

SPY VS. SPY -- The spy games between the New York Jets and New England Patriots began last season.

The Jets were caught videotaping at Gillette Stadium last season and the Patriots had that New York employee removed from the area, according to published reports Wednesday. Jets coach Eric Mangini said his team received permission to film behind both end zones during the playoff game in January.

"We taped the game, is what we taped, and we taped end-zone copy of the game, and we tape a double end zone, which is standard operating procedure for us," Mangini said. "We request that every single road game, and it's usually granted if physically it's possible. And when people request it from us, we do the same thing: We grant it."

QUICK HITTERS -- Atlanta Falcons assistant Emmitt Thomas was promoted to interim head coach for the final three games of the regular season. He replaces Bobby Petrino, who resigned to become coach at Arkansas. ... Cowboys receiver Terry Glenn went through some drills at practice for the first time all season, a good indication the already dominant Dallas offense could have another weapon by the playoffs. ... St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger took all the repetitions in practice and is on track to return after missing two games with a concussion. ... The Baltimore Ravens placed cornerback Chris McAlister on injured reserve, ending a disappointing season in which the three-time Pro Bower missed most of the second half with a sore knee.

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