Al Davis talks openly about Lane Kiffin era
Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon in Alameda regarding Lane Kiffin’s departure and the happenings around the organization during the young coach’s era.
A livid Davis spoke about Kiffin’s reluctance to draft JaMarcus Russell, the rocky relationship between himself and the former USC staffer and the notion that he wanted out and attempted to do so through insubordinate acts among other hot topics that surrounded both parties since the Raider owner hired him in January of 2007.
“I just couldn’t go on much longer with what I would call, propaganda, the lying that had been going on for weeks, and months, and a year, and time. And he had a few questions, he says ‘does that mean I don’t get paid’, I said that’s what I’m saying to you”, Davis said of his conversation with Kiffin early on Tuesday.
Kiffin was fired this morning via phone, without pay, and the Raiders official site acknowledge the transaction with a one-sentence release stating, “Lane Kiffin has been released as head coach of the Oakland Raiders for cause.”
Davis himself commented during the conference, “This morning I called Lane, and told him he was no longer the head coach of the Oakland Raiders.”
During his 20-game tenure, Kiffin went 5-15, but the team did show signs of improvement since his arrival with the change in roster, influx of young talent and just as recent as this off-season, the big money spent by Davis to bring in big name talents.
In 6-seasons, the Raiders have gone through four coaches with the team compiling a .238 winning percentage during that span. And when Davis hired the then 31-year old, it appeared that the Raiders had an innovative coach that would work hand-in-hand with the passionate owner. Davis stated, “I knew it was a bold attempt – calculated. But I always had great success, or at least I thought I did, with young people.”
He continued, “It was after a short period of time that I realized I didn’t hire the person I thought I was hiring.”
Davis also accused Kiffin of lying to the press about several incidents. “I wasn’t going to do this, but I am going to, give you the letter that was giving to Lane on the Friday before to going to Kansas City.”
The letter, which was recited by Davis started:
Over the past months you have made a number of public statements that were highly critical and designed to embarrass and discredit the organization its players and coaches. I left you alone during training camp, the implication when you were doing these things, in the hopes you would cease your immature and destructive campaign. I wanted to make this work.
During the reading of the note, Davis echoed this statement that was relayed to Kiffin, “Your actions are those of a coach looking to make excuses for not winning, rather than of a coach focused on winning. “
Davis detailed many aspects of the bad marriage stating that Kiffin was not warm on the idea of drafting JaMarcus Russell. Davis, while reading the note stated to Kiffin, “I realized that you did not want to draft JaMarcus Russell. He is a great player. Get over it.”
He continued, “That was the battle at the draft. He didn’t think we should draft JaMarcus. He had other ideas.”
Another situation that irked Davis was Kiffin’s insistence of purging the roster of Randy Moss, who was traded for a 4th round draft choice. Moss compiled 23 touchdowns last year, while the Raiders drafted John Bowie, a player who recorded 1 tackle in his rookie season and was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the 2008 campaign.
Davis also declared his wanting to treat long time Raiders with more regard, something he claimed Kiffin did not do, citing Zack Crockett’s release in 2007 and how he felt players that have helped the Raiders win in the past should be treated differently. “I didn’t like his attitude towards people….”
Something Kiffin possibly wanted to change due to the fact that the team has been mired in poor football and the need for a change in direction.
Kiffin complained to Davis per the owner, as he stated, “[Kiffin] complained he didn’t have this, and didn’t have that.” Remarks that peeved Davis which he in turn he stated to Kiffin, “If you don’t think you can win resign,” per his remarks in the press conference.
In one of the most riveting events in Raiders history, the owner covered almost every topic in detail and showed emotion when talking about the end of the relationship with Kiffin.
The almost 50 minute session was stopped for an intermission before followed by the introduction of the new head coach of the Raiders, offensive line coach Tom Cable.