NFL: Raiders fire Kiffin
ALAMEDA, Calif. ó The Oakland Raiders fired Lane Kiffin on Tuesday just four games into his second season, ending a public feud with owner Al Davis that had been simmering since the start of the year.
“I reached a point where I felt that the whole staff were fractionalized, that the best thing to do to get this thing back was to make a change,” Davis said during a lengthy news conference. “It hurts because I picked the guy. I picked the wrong guy.”
The Raiders promoted offensive line coach Tom Cable to interim head coach.
Kiffin had a 5-15 record since being hired last year, losing his final game 28-18 on Sunday to San Diego.
The decision to remove Kiffin was more about his frequent criticisms of Davis’ franchise as it was the team’s performance on the field. Those critiques reached a peak when Kiffin distanced himself from the defense after a blowout loss in the season opener, saying that was under coordinator Rob Ryan and Davis’ control.
However, during a news conference Tuesday, Davis also critiqued several of Kiffin’s coaching and personnel decisions. Among other things, he said Kiffin objected to the Raiders using the first pick in the 2007 draft on quarterback JaMarcus Russell.
“I didn’t think it was any one thing, it was a cumulative thing,” Davis said. “The pattern just disturbed me.”
The Raiders said Kiffin was fired for cause, meaning they will likely try not to pay him for the remainder of his contract. He signed a two-year deal worth about $4 million with a team option for 2009 when he took over last year.
The 79-year-old Davis was front and center for more than 90 minutes, sharing the stage with Cable for some of that time and then sticking around afterward to take more questions.
Dressed in Raider silver-and-black, his face weathered by years of standing on football sidelines, Davis sat at a podium reading from notes illuminated by a large desk lamp. He seemed angry at times, blaming Kiffin for most of the Raider woes, though he also blamed himself for hiring him in the first place.
The firing comes a day after the St. Louis Rams let go of Scott Linehan, marking the second firing at the quarter point of the season. The last time a coach had been fired this early in the season was when Davis got rid of Mike Shanahan after four games in 1989.
Cable is regarded as one of the top offensive line coaches in the game, and worked with successful units in Atlanta and Oakland. He spent four years as a college head coach at Idaho, and was also an assistant at UCLA, California and Colorado.