Kiffin out of the loop on Lofton


Just because it’s been relatively quiet for a few days doesn’t mean all is well with Lane Kiffin and the Raiders.

It turns out that James Lofton has agreed to terms to join the Raiders as an unspecified assistant coach, most likely wide receivers, and although Kiffin conducted the interview, he had nothing to do with the hire.

That bit of news came Wednesday night from a team source I trust, and pretty much ruins my growing belief that things appeared to be working themselves out between Kiffin and owner Al Davis.

This remains a fluid situation.

Kiffin, I’m told, was first informed by a third party not affiliated with the Raiders that Lofton is on his staff.

This is new territory where Davis and Kiffin are concerned in that Davis overruled the coach on a matter pertaining to the offense.

When Kiffin was hired last year he gutted the entire offensive staff, bringing in coordinator Greg Knapp, line coach Tom Cable, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, wide receivers coach Charles Coe and running backs coach Tom Rathman, while getting Davis’ approval.

Lofton, however, was dropped in Kiffin’s lap, and while he is a Hall of Famer, an ex-Raider and probably a fine coach, this is no way to run a football team.

Things are precarious enough around Raiders headquarters with rumors rampant about Davis requesting a resignation, a letter which reportedly strips Kiffin of his power regarding staff and personnel, and the strange Raiders press release issued by someone other than Kiffin regarding the retention of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

I’ll call the resignation request and the emasculation letter rumors because I have heard stories but don’t have solid enough sources myself to consider them factual. The information on the Lofton situation comes from a team source who prefers to remain anonymous.

Kiffin can be forgiven for believing Davis is trying to force him out, for while Lofton is a Hall of Fame player and probably a fine coach, he also happened to interview twice for the job Kiffin currently calls his own.

Even if Davis wanted to hire Lofton whether Kiffin liked it or not, an environment in which Kiffin is not told by Davis or anyone in the front office, and instead hears it from someone not affiliated with the Raiders, means there is a serious communication issue between the boss and his most important employee.

None of Kiffin’s choices at this point are too appealing.

The wisest course of action could be to dig in his heels, deal with whatever surprises come and continue to coach his team to the best of his ability. People outside the Raiders’ universe have their own view of how the franchise operates, and if Kiffin gets to six or seven wins, he would be a hot commodity.

Kiffin is paying dearly for not only going 4-12, but for not squelching the Arkansas rumor as well as speculation he wanted to return to college coaching. Whether it was true or not, Davis must have wanted no part of another Jon Gruden scenario, wondering every day if his prodigy had turned ungrateful and was looking to get out of town.

Loyalty is huge with Davis.

If you believe in happily-ever-after, perhaps Kiffin could regain Davis’ trust and and serve out the last two years of his contract, with the Raiders holding options through 2010. That isn’t the way to bet, but if Kiffin gave Davis a winner and got JaMarcus Russell on the track to stardom, all would be forgiven and the boss would be only too happy to take credit for it.

The other option is to resign, forfeiting his salary, at a time where all the good college head coaching and coordinator jobs are already filled, with most NFL options as an assistant exhausted as well.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Dakota


    I have criticized Kiffin for some of those things as well (playing McClown over DC or AW, and not kicking the FG against SD in the last game of the year) , but you have to remember what he walked into when he came to the Raiders. He took control of quite possibly the worst offense in NFL history and he made major strides towards fixing those problems in his first year. If you can’t see that Al Davis really was your wool pulled over your eyes.

    By the way, keep your “cojones”, of course we would turn on Kiffin if we didn’t make progress next year. That is the nature of sports.

    I guess I just know a lot of Viqueens fans here in South Dakota, and they collectively think Dennis Green is a poor coach…

  • RaiderfanNY

    The Lofton hiring is further proof that all hope is lost. Davis is a buffoon who belongs in an assisted living facility. It’s like George Costanza’s father is running the Raiders. Incidentally, I’ve always thought that Lofton, of all people, is symbolic of the Raiders’ failings over the last 25 years. He was one of the best receivers in the league while in Green Bay and was a key player on one of the best offenses ever in Buffalo. But in between, while with the Raiders, he hardly did a thing. Amazing stat: In 1988, he started 16 games for the Raiders and scored 0 touchdowns. (I’m blaming the Raiders’ general ineptness, not Lofton. Schroeder and Beuerlein split time at QB that year.)

  • Kiffin in?

    Yeah,I also wanted see AW play couple games this past season. Not sure why Kiffin was so stubborn on that. It didn’t make any sense to me.

  • GG

    Jim Harbaugh would be my pick for a real possible long-term HC for the Raiders. Someone that Al tried to get out of Kiffin. Obviously, it would be better to have Harbaugh, a young guy here to work for 10 years, rather than a Green or similar older coach, here just for 2 or 3 years before moving on. But Green is a damn fine coach and guy. You can’t isolate the one year in Arizona as a definitive judgment of Green. Obviously, the players play a large part in making a coach great or mediocre, but Green is good regardless. He’d probably have it tough here like in Arizona, but he’s a good coach and he’d get the most out of Russell, and the rest of the players. And he’d make great post-game press conferences.

    The same can obviously said of Kiffin too, about cant judge him on one year, and the players make the coach etc. But there’s no reason either to be so hung-up on Kiffin if he is a lame duck coach now. Which he is. Either way, he tried to leave mid-season 07, and chances are he’ll leave 08. Whatever happened happened already. Time to move on now.

  • mricuu


  • The conspiracy is on and Al interviews and hires Lofton after a secret meeting. Evil Al says, “James 3rd time is a charm… C’mon over to the Dark Side. I’ll hire you as a receivers coach. That will really P off Kiff. I will torture him daily into submission and when he can’t take any more he will resign. When he resigns you will be appointed as the head coach. I will give you no control and I will be your puppet master. You will be my next fall guy just like Art. I will fire you after one year, but you will you will cash in on the remaining years of your contract. Think of it as a early retirement package”.

  • GG

    I gotta go, but I’ll check back in later….read, reply.
    My parting message is — play nice!

  • LaDanian Tomlinson

    Hey, Al!

    I know people call you paranoid, unstable, and that you’re sabotaging your young coach’s chances of success by leaving him in the closet on personnel decisions — but isn’t that what the BLACK HOLE is all about.

    You’re just keeping with tradition and I’m all for it.

    Don’t change a thing. This all sounds cruel but when you return to L.A. to prove to the NFL that you didn’t fail in Hollywood, your fan base in San Diego will have a nearby home to plunder. And this is a favor to us and our respectable fans.

    Anyway, keep up the good work up there!


  • K-Rock


    I humbly and publically apologize for doubting your wisdom.

    I will no longer mess with you about speculation because it appears as though you are right.

    My Bad Dude.

  • K-Rock

    publicly… LOL! Up all night for a test…

  • 505raider

    just got to work and read this article. Again with not naming sources. For all we know Kiffin told Davis if we can get him hire him and this third party is not a big deal. Until i see letters, official Raider press releases or names to go with these so called insiders I am not believing any of it.
    Ive always and will continue to be in till death and beyond FOREVER A RAIDER

  • CorpRaiderNYC

    GG Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 6:02 am
    CorpRaiderNYC said the following thing…

    “I am a die-hard Oakland fan on the East Coast and am considering withdrawing considerably. It’s just not worth the emotional investment.”

    Notice the contradiction, the falseness? DIE-HARD yet ready to withdraw. Lol. Go be a Giants fan after they win the Superbowl.

    GG –

    I think you are mistaken by the definition of die-hard. To be die-hard simply means to strongly resist change or to be strongly devoted to something – NOT ABSOLUTLEY! Therefore, the basis of your contradiction claim is in question. I have “strongly” resisted the urge to temper my emotions and expectations of the Raiders over the last 4+ pathetic seasons.

    This past season had me feeling as positive as ever since the super-bowl season. However, once all of the turmoil began in the off-season, it strengthened my opinion that until the Raiders organization can operate on a plane parallel to that of the other “model” organizations, it’s just not worth my emotional investment.

    I don’t know about everyone else on this board, but my free time outside of work is very limited so I tend to value it more. If I’m not getting the appropriate return on my time/emotion spent, then I’m going to consider spending my time elsewhere (this does not mean on other teams) until it is worth spending on the Raiders again.

    That’s all.

  • john mosley

    you people are wack jobs,THERES NO DRAMA HERE EXEPT WHAT THE PROSTITUTES <ER<I MEAN THE RUMOR MONGER’S IN THE MEDIA ARE DRUMMING UP.let me explain this,ryan and kiffin are both under contract,ryan for 08 and kiffin through 09.now on to the lofton hiring,anyone who didnt see this hire going through is a complete moron,kiffin interviews lofton for about 5 hrs. al isnt around,after the interview al ask lane what he thinks{not that he cares in the least what anybody thinks,he’s already made up his mind and kiffin know’s this} so after his cocoa and noon nap al wakes up and grabs the first phone he finds and calls loftons agent and tells him lofton can quit looking for a job,he has one with the raiders if he wants it,then al finds the first flunkee office boy he sees{who wants to remain annonymous of course}and tells him to get ahold of kiffin and tell him that loftons been added to the coaching staff,oh after you talk to kiffin make sure you get ahold of the rumor mongers and tell them that it was davis who hired lofton and not kiffin{and by the way remain annonymous}.now like i said before kiffin and ryan are under contract,we already know kiffin aint goin to leave the 4 million al owes him on the table and quit,we all know now that al aint goin to fire ryan,so they’re stuck with each other for 08 anyway.after 08 it will get real good,lofton will have been there a year,the 4 mil. i mentioned earlier will have shrunk to about 2.3 mil and ryan’s contract will be up,so as far fireworks go this offseason nothing compared to what next offseason will bring,so raidernation stay tuned it’s gonna get better,if thats possible.

  • LA Dave

    hobs gnarly nails a point above regarding loyalty, and how it’s an earned commodity. loyalty and respect are the same concept, you earn them, and it’s a two way street. big al expects loyalty while he stands there and pees on your leg. here’s what i don’t get about the davis and rob ryan appologists. neither one has proven in the past few seasons that their methods produce results. in competitive businesses, there’s accountability. which is not to say that they didn’t work in the past, but it’s a “what have you done for me lately?” business.

  • Joe Raider

    I know this comment is asking for a firestorm of criticism but here goes. First, I like Lane Kiffin. Ithink he is the right guy to lead the Raiders at this time and dies have the team going in the right direction.I think Al Davis is making a huge mistake if all the rumors are true as to the Kiffin/Davis “rift”. Having established my fellings, I would offer this: KIffin is not completely innocent. Davis made him the youngest HC in NFL history, gave him more control than any HC since Gruden. Expecting Kiffin to lead the rebuilding process, which he has. But,then Lane’s hand picked personnel guy Mark Jackson botches the Russell negotiations.As the season goes on Kiffin can’t seem to make a decision on a starting QB,(McCown or Culpepper it doesn’t matter your preference) resulting in the offensive team approaching almost every contest unsure who their leader was.Not good for anybody.Not conducive to winning.Players couldn’t have been thrilled so you know Al wasn’t. Make a decision on a QB and stick with it. Russell never sees any playing time until near the end of the season. And after it is well established that the team had no chance of making the playoffs,Kiffin still doesn’t take a look at Russell and get him some experience instead preferring to play Mccown. Al definitely wasn’t happy about that.The Raiders still aren’t winning and Russell still doesn’t get the playing time he needs, yet Davis doesn’t override Kiffin.I don’t think Al believed Oakland would make the playoffs, but would try to start developing Russell.So,In Nov. in the midst of the QB situation,we get rumors that Lane Kiffin is interested in the coaching vacancy at Arkansas.And would like to return coaching at the college level.Nobody seems to know how much truth there was to the rumors to this day. So, obviously, Al Davis is disturbed and would be looking for some rock solid assurance from Kiffin that these rumors were totally false.We know this after the Gruden/Notre Dame issue. It never came. Kiffin never dismissed the rumors to ANYONE’S satisfaction, let alone the notoriously paranoid Al Davis’.And that was the cardinal sin.He needed to KILL that rumor and he did not.Al respects loyalty above all else.So, I am not defending Davis and the way he is handling the situation, it is completely out of line. But Kiffin screwed up. He had to have some idea of what Al Davis is like. And that the issues I mentioned would do nothing but piss Al Davis off. And they did.If you know how Al is, don’t go out of your way to engage in things that will turn him against you, while doing nothing to help your team or further your career.The things I mentioned helped no one. Russell still needs experience,they didn’t produce wins, and Lane didn’t get offered the AR job (if he was really interested)Al is paranoid,he needs a GM,and is past his prime but Kiffin knew these things when he took the job and could’ve avoided a lot of this very easily.Al deserves a lot of blame, but I guarantee the Arkanas thing has been the major factor.True or not, Al believed there was some truth.

  • Just sell Baby……..

    Figure this loften thing out..Loften “hated” it here when he played as a Faider. Now he is a loser as an assistant. So you keep bringing in these losers to become a head coach ?? Thus is the further ways of the Faiders becoming fader………….

    Just Sell Baby, and so it is !!

  • 505Raider

    This source could be a janitor for all we know and the third source outside the Raider org. could be Loftens agent and the media says “third source” to start this all over again becaouse it was dieing down.

  • Jay

    Does it surprise anyone? He is the laughing stock of all professional sports and he is never going to change. He continues to deflate the financial value of the team at an exponential rate. Nothing is going to change this short of the Raider Nation taking up pitchforks.

  • Just sell Baby……..

    Alvin Davis says “you must be loyal to me”, “but I will not be loyal to you”

    Just Sell Baby……..And so it is !!

  • Sactown

    The Greatness of the Raidas is in its PAST…

  • ATLRaider

    W0-Hooo! Sam Williams Resigned.


    Sam Williams is on the “James Jett Scholorship Program”

    Past recipients include:

    Tyler Brayon
    Stuart Schweigert
    Ricky Dudley
    Barry Sims
    Anthony Dorsett
    Marquez Pope

  • imamg

    I’ll say this… as disturbed as all the info/rumor/whatever is… as a Manager myself… with a gm above me… in a family run business… it’s my job to do with what is given to me… as long as I’m properly compensated…and have freedoms to at the very least expand on our working ideals… honestly people…what more do you “want” vs “need”. At this as at every point in our fanatic existence… what difference does it make? If you’re truly giving up support…then abandon it as a whole… it’s one thing to not like something/someone… it’s yet another thing to do so in a manner in which you try to enforce your own dislike on others… I’m not happy with the info … but I’m still the fan.

  • So I wake up this morning, and not only is the nightmare still continuing, it’s gotten worse.

    Whether you’re an “Al-Davis-is-god-anybody-who-says-otherwise-is-not-a-fan,” or an “Al-Davis-is-senile-and-reads-the-crap-in-his-depends-like-tea-leaves-and-makes-decisions-that-way,” one thing is for sure:

    This organization is in trouble. And it’s embarrasing. There are more than two sides to this story. This story seems to have 4 or even 6 sides.

    It makes me sad.

  • CohibaTom

    There’s only one way to end this nonsense and that is for the fans to stop buying tickets! Money talks! Boycott the team until Davis retires and keeps away.

  • Dakota

    RE: Raiders Announce Hiring of George Tenent

    The Oakland Raiders are pleased to announce the hiring of former CIA Director George Tenent as the new Human Resource Director for the Oakland Raiders.

    Alameda, California, January 31, 2008—The Oakland Raiders are pleased
    to announce the hiring of George Tenet as Human Resource Director. In his new role, Tenet will be supporting the organization by utilizing the newest and most well established human resource techniques know to the field. He will provide the Oakland Raiders with the ability to streamline the hiring and firing of the Raiders’ coaching staff.

    Prior to joining the Raiders, Tenet completed his on the job training in human resource management in his capacity of Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Tenet has at his disposal a plethora of techniques learned in the CIA to help deal with personnel issues within the Raiders’ organization. In his past work Tenet has successfully employed waterboarding, sensory deprivation, starvation and thirst, humiliation, forced standing, sleep deprivation, sweatboxes and other cutting edge human resource techniques that he shall easily implement in his new position with the Raiders.

    “I am proud to announce that the Raider family has a new member, George Tenet. George embodies all of the characteristics I look for when bringing in a new member to our organization; Loyalty, devotion, faithfulness, fidelity, sycophancy and a commitment to excellence. I will enjoy observing George implement many of his techniques on some of the less loyal members of our coaching staff in the upcoming days and weeks. I am sure his methods will produce results soon so that we can move on towards bringing back the greatness of the Raiders.” says Al Davis, President, and Managing General Partner of the Oakland Raiders.

    For more information please contact:
    Amy Trask, CEO
    The Oakland Raiders
    1220 Harbor BayParkway
    Alameda, CA94502

  • Jay

    The moderator obviously works for the Raiders.

  • Copenhagen_Fan

    You don’t buy tickets and the games get blacked out. No TV! No Raiders

  • There are 31 other teams, if you were a Raider fan of any experience you know Al Davis’ MO. Take off and root for another team.

  • yank

    Can a orginization be more inept and disfunctional than the one run by al davis, i hope the league steps in and saves us from mr burns.

  • John

    Time for the old fool to sell. Raider sayings for the 21st century:

    Committment to Excrement

    Just lose, baby!

  • Mike J.

    DO NOT RESIGN, Lane. Stand your ground like a man. Davis looks just like the incompetent owner that he has become. And no one with any integrity wants any part of him and his mess for he lacks character, as has been clearly shown. Skip the Raiders.

  • Maybe we should have a rally in front of HQ in Alameda, demanding an end to all of this retardedness. Just like with the govt, it probably won’t affect much change, but it might make us feel better.

  • Ghost2post

    Killing us softly….Slowly….Painfully

  • Jay

    Obviously, moderation is more strict these days on this blog, so I will play fair.

    I really have no respect for Al these days. I firmly believe that a large measure of his success in the past with the Raiders was because of other people he hired. I think the success that other people enjoyed under his name sort of relegated him to the background. I think Al being irrelevant in the public’s eye scares him more than losing. IMO, that is why he apparently seems so indifferent to the apparent dysfunction with the _entire_ organization right now. He simply can’t stand to have someone other than himself appear to be the reason for the team’s success. Crippling ego is the root of it all.

  • jh

    RaiderTW….I agree it isn’t like if you are a Raider fan that AD and his ways are a surprise in any way.
    Of course we are all tired of the drama but hey if any want to root for another team…go for it.

  • Blackholepriest

    Ask yourself why would Mr. Davis have Coach Kiffin cnduct the interview for Lofton and then maliciously exclude him from the hiring process?

    Kiffin obviously knew that Lofton WOULD be hired, he just wasn’t part of the negotiating process in terms of an offer.

    But of course Jerry wants everybody to think that Lofton was hired against to spite Kiffin instead of Kiffin giving Lofton his endorsement and letting the process go from there.

    Did Kiffin say he didn’t want Lofton or that he disagreed with the hire. What is wrong with Kiffin not actually knowing if Lofton excepted the offer until later. As long as HE wants him aboard that’s all that matters. If HE DOESN”T want Lofton THEN I have a problem with it.

    So we’ll find out later if Lofton was really dropped on Kiffin as Jerry suggest.

  • Sactown

    I just got moderated…sorry for the RIP part, but I am just sick and tired of the Raiders being the only JV team in the NFL. There are so many in the Raiders management that would not find another job in the NFL. Al hires them to say “yes Mr. Davis”. This once proud and productive franchise is clearly the worst in sports. It is bad when even a Donkey fan tells me he feels bad for us fans that remain loyal to this team.

  • 505Raider

    Good post 128. I AM IN. I WILL NEVER BE OUT. i will continue to watch them on tv. I will fly out to my 1 or more games a year and have a great time every time. See you in the fall.

  • Just sell Baby……..

    We have to get with a Radio Station to start a campaign to have them start airing a time and date to rally outside of Faiders Headquarters to tell Alvin The Chipmunk Davis to sell or step down……….

    Is there such a station in Oakland that will do this, and not have Al Davis pull their game passes ??

    Just Sell Baby…………And so it is !!

  • ATLRaider

    I always wondered if any Staff from the Raiders ever took a peak at some of the message boards online.

    If anyone from that dysfunctional group has seen the Raider Nation’s respone to this latest debacle, they must not be happy.

    My guess is though, they really don’t care – Al, Trask and the rest could care less about the fans.

  • Florida Pete,

    regarding post # 89

    Florida Pete Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 5:53 am
    i think Kiffin was handicapped when he took this job…

    i think he handicapped himself…

    i think he is nothing more than a resume padding opportunist…

    i think he saw this HC position as nothing more than a billboard onto which he can post his resume…

    4-12… and from what i saw Davis allowed the kid to overhaul the offense, coaching staff included…

    4-12… and the kid thinks he should be able to run things his way with all of his, let’s see, 0 years HC experience…

    4-12… now the kid has 90% of the Raiders fans ready to throw the owner under the bus…

    4-12… i think the kid needs a little more OJT before we hand over the keys to the kingdom…

    there’s a difference between commanding an army and running a country…

    You said it in this post

    4-12 and 90% of Raider fans are ready to throw Davis under the bus…

    If you didn’t know the score of any of the games……and you were to watch the product on the field….

    Kiffin’s Raider’s actually look like an NFL Team.

    Al Davis’ Raiders are a joke

    We didn’t just wake up one day and Al Davis suddenly became a joke…this has been happening shortly after the Tom Flores years. A slow and steady decengt into madness…take out the Gruden years and Kiffins 1st year….we have been an embarrassment!!!

    plain and simple.

  • Mike

    Ironic isn’t it? Al Davis insists on the highest standards of loyalty when it comes to the people in the organization, but shows he has not an ounce of loyalty to people doing his work at the very moment he perceives things not going his way.

  • BHP, you’re a voice of reason, as usual.

    But I also have to ask myself why Jerry would want us to think that. There is some serious disfunction going on if people from within the organization are contacting journalists to plant these stories. Jerry’s deduction is perfectly reasonable based on the information he was given.

    I believe your post from the other day, the one you were nervous about making. But someone’s talking out of class.

  • Mike

    When the 2008 season starts, and if Lane is in the sideline, will Al, the Raiders and Coliseum security keep people from displaying “KEEP KIFFIN COACHING” banners around the stadium?

    FANS need to speak up!!!!!!!!

  • jh

    BHP….I would think that since Kiffin interviewed Lofton he made a recommendation to AD one way or another and if he wanted Lofton on his staff he HAD to have an idea it was going to happen.If Kiffin didn’t want Lofton it could be a different story but we really don’t know as Jerry’s source as far as I see in the story didn’t say Kiffin didn’t want Lofton.

  • LooneyRaider

    Hmm, another “unamed” source. You’re getting as bad as the other mediots Jerry.

  • Former Raider Fan

    A sanitized version…Al Davis is a joke and has run off more fans and quality coaches than his fair share. Including the Gruden years since the 1983 superbowl win, the Oakland Davis’ are 189 W’s – 210 L’s. Get that Al Davis lovers…25 years of being 21 games UNDER 500. How pathetic do you have to be. The 1 consistent is Mr. Burns.

    When will the blind nation awaken and rise up through mass protest to the NFL?

  • Richard Smith

    “Caint ya just die, Al?”

  • Blackholepriest

    Jerry’s job is to keep you guy’s hitting this board and make money for his company and himself.

  • KD

    “Loyalty is huge with Davis.”

    You guys are shitting on Davis, but it was Lane in the rumor mill first! It appears Davis is treating him like a snitch, Kiffen drew first blood, Davis is just not forgiving him.