ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders will undertake a "serious evaluation" of allegations that coach Tom Cable has a history of violent behavior toward women.
The team released a statement in response to allegations made to ESPN by Cable's first wife, Sandy Cable, and former girlfriend, Marie Lutz, that the coach physically abused them at various times during their relationships.
Cable acknowledged striking Sandy Cable with an open hand in a statement Sunday. Cable said the altercation happened more than 20 years ago and was the only time he's ever touched a woman inappropriately. He stood by that statement Monday, declining to answer any questions on the topic.
The Raiders said they first learned of these allegations from ESPN in the past week.
"In conjunction with the league office, we will undertake a serious evaluation of this matter," the team said in a statement Monday. "We wish to be clear that we do not in any way condone or accept actions such as those alleged. There have been occasions on which we have dismissed Raider employees for having engaged in inappropriate conduct."
This is the second allegation against Cable accusing him of violence. Former defensive assistant Randy Hanson accused Cable of assaulting him and breaking his jaw during training camp. The Napa County district attorney declined to file charges in that matter late last month.
The players are mostly tuning out the off-field issues, focusing on improving a football team that is 26-76 since the start of the 2003 season.
"We're not thinking about it and we're not worried about the outside distractions," tight end Zach Miller said. "We're just focused on being a better football team."
The Raiders (2-6) have a lot of work to get there, having lost four games by at least 20 points and taken dramatic steps back offensively over the first half of the season.
If one play could sum up the first half of the season for the Raiders it might have come on the final drive. On second-and-28 with Oakland trailing 24-16, JaMarcus Russell went back to pass and had no open receivers. That was because Louis Murphy and Johnnie Lee Higgins got tangled up with each other and both hit the ground.
That led to a sack by Shawne Merriman and Oakland was unable to mount a comeback.
"Everybody's making a big deal about that," Murphy said. "I heard some of my teammates said they showed it on TV. Actually, I had an inside release, and Johnnie an outside release and we ran into each other. I mean, it happens. You can find anything to pick out at the end of the game."
It's been that kind of season offensively for the Raiders, who have been unable to develop Russell into a big-play quarterback and have the kind of deep-strike offense that owner Al Davis loves so much.
The Raiders have scored just three touchdowns in the past six games, have failed to reach 200 yards of offense in five of eight games and are the lowest-ranked offense in the NFL.
"Everybody is looking for an answer right now," Murphy said. "We have to continue to stay together as a team and continue to work hard, and continue in practice to work hard to drill our plays and continue to do what the coaches ask of us. Eventually it's going to come out in the games."
The Raiders could get some good news after the bye week with running back Darren McFadden, receiver Chaz Schilens and offensive linemen Robert Gallery and Cornell Green hoping to return from injuries. McFadden has begun running and cutting on his surgically repaired right knee and said he hopes to be ready to play against the Chiefs on Nov. 15
McFadden has been out since tearing cartilage in his right knee on Oct. 4 against Houston. He struggled even when he played, averaging 3.1 yards per carry.
While frequently saying he doesn't want to use injuries as an excuse, Cable put the blame for much of the first-half woes on them. Cable is counting on Gallery solidifying the offensive line to create holes for McFadden and for Schilens to open up the struggling passing game.
"For one, you're losing your best offensive lineman. That gives you a lot of solidity inside," he said. "It will help open up the run game even more. You're getting a receiver that can impact the game. Those are all things that lead, not only just to more yards, but, obviously, to more points."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press