Lombardi denies Randy Moss tampering charge

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis last week accused the New England Patriots of tampering with receiver Randy Moss before swinging the deal that sent him packing in April 2007 for a fourth-round draft choice.

Davis, in a casual interview session after his Sept. 30 news conference to announce he was firing head coach Lane Kiffin, claimed former Raiders executive Mike Lombardi helped good friend Bill Belichick with inside information.

In a taped interview that first will appear at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Showtime's "Inside the NFL," Lombardi sat down with Cris Collinsworth to tell his side of the story.

Belichick, who kept his players in San Jose in between games against the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers, declined to comment on the situation when asked Wednesday.

Collinsworth: Did the tampering take place?

Lombardi: Absolutely not. After that press conference Al Davis threw everyone under the bus, [Patriots owner] Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick and myself, saying that I told Bill Belichick that Randy Moss could still run. Well, we were trying to trade Randy Moss to the New England Patriots. I thought that was good information to give Bill Belichick. But now [Davis] accused all of us of making those charges and now he is going to have to face them.

Collinsworth: Did you help Belichick to the determent of the Raiders?

Lombardi: Without a doubt, I did not. I was trying to do the best thing for the Raiders, always have. ... In this situation, Bill Belichick is not going to always rely on my opinion for information. He is going to look at what he sees on the tape.

Collinsworth: If they are frivolous claims, is there something the league can do to the Raiders?

Lombardi: The Raiders received a letter form the league office this week saying "Look, do you have anything to claim about the tampering charges because it's been 18 months? Do you have something to say because, if you don't, you are in violation of the club integrity rule."

They want to balance the integrity of the game, but they don't want other clubs throwing mud against each other. That's the point here. The Raiders have 18 months to make this charge, and all of a sudden after this press conference, Al Davis does make the charge. I think it has more to do with [Randy Moss'] 23 touchdowns than it does with actual tampering.