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

  • Adrian


  • GG

    There’s a theory that Kiffin’s people are spreading false stories just so the media slings mud at Al.

    Eg, Kiffin did interview Lofton, Kiffin did hire Lofton, for WR coach, then tells a person or two to tell a story as this “out of loop” story.

    Not saying I buy it, but it makes sense in context of the underlying contradiction here that Kiffin could interview someone and be “surprised” (jerry’s words) that Lofton is on his staff.

  • KD

    And as a lot have already said, just ANOTHER un-known source.

  • Blackholepriest

    Someone said there’s a sucker born every minute I say it’s 100x more than that. You guy’shate Mr. Davis and he and everyone else know it and they use it to their advantage. So what if it hurts the Org. as long as they get what they want. You can turn Jerry’s comments into a lot of things.
    But yoou guy’s are a horde of angry fans and they use you. I would to if I had their agenda.

  • KD

    Much love to all who have Al’s back! I ride with the Raider family.

  • Dakota

    Jeez, this is getting asinine. I wish I could just go to sleep and ignore all the BS coming out of Alameda until draft day…

  • GG

    In other words, about Kiffin people spreading these stories….the point is to try to build up a perception/case that Al is breaching lane’s contract, stripping him of his duties, etc.

  • ATLRaider

    I’m surprised some of you in the Bay Area haven’t started picketing for Al’s resignation at the Alameda HQ.

    Crazy Old Al needs to go!

  • CorpRaiderNYC

    Blackholepriest Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 9:01 am
    Someone said there’s a sucker born every minute I say it’s 100x more than that. You guy’shate Mr. Davis and he and everyone else know it and they use it to their advantage. So what if it hurts the Org. as long as they get what they want. You can turn Jerry’s comments into a lot of things.
    But yoou guy’s are a horde of angry fans and they use you. I would to if I had their agenda.

    BHP –

    Cash is king. The events that have transpired over the last several weeks, and years for that matter, have significantly damaged the reputaiton of the Oakland Raiders, which in turn decreases the value of the organization (believe it or not, there is such thing as reputaional risk – of which it appears the Raiders are not accutely aware).

    Any capitalist (and I assure you every owner is the NFL is one) had one goal above all others – make money at a sufficient rate.

    Your comment suggests that Al Davis has an agenda supreme to making money. I don’t know that I agree with that.

  • K-Rock


    What is their agenda? I thought it was winning football games. How does this fit into that?

    If it doesn’t fit, then their agenda is off.

  • Dakota

    I’ve said it before and I will say it again, pull your heads out of the sand. The writing is on the wall; Kiffin’s time in Oakland is coming to an end, quit kidding yourselves. If there is just a grain of truth to these reports there is no way this relationship lasts.

    If both parties are stubborn enough, we might be dealing with this crap for the next year or two! It would not surprise me in the least if that happens.

  • Thats why I didn’t get into it Priest. This could be another case of ‘much ado about nothing.’

    Word was the interview went great. So we must assume by that that Kiffin prob wanted Lofton. Kiffin prob made it known that he wanted Lofton. An offer was extended, Lofton accepted then Kiffin found out. Kiffin wasn’t involved with the JR negotiations. I don’t think its his job.

    I’m just not sure if there’s a real issue here.

  • Dakota

    Can Mark Cuban buy the Raiders?

  • Aaronraider13

    Did anyone see the huge headline from Nancy gay? It says that Al Davis was directly involved with the Moss trade! Now thats journalisim! Her next story is about how the sky is blue and how water is wet!

  • Blackholepriest

    The agenda that I spoke of was the media’s.

    Listen I’m not at all saying Mr. Davis is altruistic I’m just saying that neither is Jerry.

    You guy’s assume that he is always giving it to yu straight and I’m saying I question everything he writes because I KNOW it’s slanted.

    Why would Kiffin interview Lofton so that he could be hired against his will? That makes not only Big Al look stupid but Kiffin as well.

    But of course Jerry said it so it must be true.

    Sure everyne is trying to make a buck. But I know that Mr.Davis wants to win. Does Jerry want him to look good in any situation. I don’t think so, it’s more profitable for the media if he’s put in a bad light. Why I don’t know but it seems to work for them, so they go out of their way to mkae it so.

    If Big Al hired Lofton against Kiffin then I totally disagree with that, but I don’t think that happened AT ALL.

  • The source is known to Jerry. It’s not like this practice is limited to the NFL. It happens in politics and other businesses all the time. And when it does happen in those situations, whether or not the sources are right or wrong, eventually if an organization is run tightly, it stops happening.

  • Blackholepriest

    Terrapin there IS NO ISSUE but Jerry made ne up.

  • TB

    How much more heart and soul can Al rip out of one of the most loyal fan bases in all of sport? Aside from deaths of loved ones what’s going on in Oakland is the bottom. I’m packing my bags and getting ready to check out of the nation. Sorry guys but I had enough 🙁

  • CorpRaiderNYC Says
    Cash is king. The events that have transpired over the last several weeks, and years for that matter, have significantly damaged the reputaiton of the Oakland Raiders, which in turn decreases the value of the organization (believe it or not, there is such thing as reputaional risk

    —-How has New England damaged the rep of the NFL if they win a SB? Cheaters always prosper? In my eyes this damages the NFL emmensly when SF Denver & NE can cheat so blatantly & the media comes down on the Raiders every day.

  • Lester

    Remember the good ole’ days? Will it be Russell? Quinn? or Johnson?

    I don’t want to say Al is wrong for getting who he wants on the staff but, to not inform the Head Coach of the hire, is no way to run a TEAM.

    Al the maverick, Does it his own way. Thanks for another losing season Al.

  • Run a tighter ship is all I’m saying.

  • swifty

    I say we all put $5 ina pot and hire a hit man for Davis. Who’s down????

  • ATLRaider

    Al Davis has become as bad or worse than the A’s Owner of the 70’s…Charlie Finley

  • stretch

    i dont see no where that this is even true

  • Al´s middle finger

    Next on the interview schedule: Vince Evans for QB coach and Ricky Dudley for TE coach… For the Draft I think Al will make history by selecting a Long Snapper 3rd overall (futuh halo fameh)… And if Kiff don´t like it he can quit.

  • Raider Raul #53

    We are all Pawns in Crazy Al’s demented chess game. Yes, Kiffin, Ryan, Lofton, Otto, Kingdon, Trask, The FANS. Crazy Al believes he OWNS all of us. He’s play this game till the day he dies. You know why???
    CUZ HE CAN!!!!
    If he buys out Kiffin’s contract, he’ll end uo paying $3mill+ for a 4-12 season and a 32yr rookie coach. Besides, he heard that the fans and players like him, so why not give him another year?? If it doesn’t work out in 2008, Crazy Al will GUT the entire staff, and Lofton will coach (with one year in the “Raiduhs” brainwashing system under his belt).

  • ATLRaider

    The last trip I made out to Oakland was for the Patriots game…the year after the Snow Job.

    I doubt I’ll be making any more trips there until Al is a goner. Why waste the money?? It’s not even worth getting the NFL Ticket on Direct TV anymore..

  • RaiderDogg

    GG Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 4:57 am

    Wrong. It’s not excusable. None of you excuse Moss for quitting for the same reason. Except if your name is Jemelle Hill.
    What’s happening here is everyone ‘fell in love’ with Kid Kiffin and don’t want to face the reality he’s a quitter and a pouting hypocrite, but would rather relentlessly bash the very man who has bled Silver and Black for 40 years. Where are your true loyalties? To Al or to some kid from ncaa who bled Silver/Black for about 8 months before he pouted and wanted to abandon us all?”

    GG Has an excellent point here. Why is it that Kiffin gets the benefit of the doubt in every situation? IF the rumors are true that he was looking for a job(Arkansas, Michigan, UCLA) while still working for the Raiders, mid season I might add, then he should be shown the door. No matter who the owner is. I’m not saying it isn’t hard to work for the Raiders, I’m sure it is. But it is very hard to excuse Kiffin’s kind of behavior if it is true.

    I understand that Al is at fault for everything that goes wrong with the organization. Kiffin has been with the Raiders for less than a year yet most of you act like he is Mr Raider. If I owned a company and took a chance on some young unproven guy and then I find out that he is just using this job as leverage to get another job, I would be pissed too.

    Al is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. The fact is no matter who the Head Coach is for the Raiders whenever something goes right it is always because of coaching, players, scheme’s, any reason but Al. But as soon things go bad it’s all because of Al. It’s not the fault of some young 4-12 coach that has supposedly been hugely disloyal. It’s all Al’s fault for caring that someone that he gave a huge opportunity to was just using that opportunity to try and get a better one.

    I am sure whoever is reading this is now calling me a “Al Davis Aplogist” or whatever other colorful adjectives that you want to heap on me. The fact is I know that Al is slipping and possibly battling several ailments that old people have to deal with including dimentia. I am just trying to be objective here.

    Step back and try to see the situation for what it really is. Replace Al’s name with yours and replace Kiffin’s name with someone that you wanted to believe had good intentions. Now play out the same scenario with the new names. What do you get? A completely different perspective and possibly a better understanding of how Al and the Raiders organization must feel.

    MaddenRaider –

    You were right bro, this poop is far from over!

  • southernraider

    Just be patient, Al is 78. We will win again!!!!

  • CorpRaiderNYC

    RaiderTW Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 9:29 am
    CorpRaiderNYC Says
    Cash is king. The events that have transpired over the last several weeks, and years for that matter, have significantly damaged the reputaiton of the Oakland Raiders, which in turn decreases the value of the organization (believe it or not, there is such thing as reputaional risk

    —-How has New England damaged the rep of the NFL if they win a SB? Cheaters always prosper? In my eyes this damages the NFL emmensly when SF Denver & NE can cheat so blatantly & the media comes down on the Raiders every day.

    RaiderTW –

    That’s a very good point. My guess is that the damage done to the nfl was minimal (evidenced by record tv ratings, revenues, etc) due to effective damage control and public relations efforts.

    Recall that the NFL took immediate measures to address the spy-gate situation (by penalizing the franchise swiftly and releasing statements, etc), as it has when other matters have surfaced.

    Also, the Patriots dealt with the situation swiftly by releasing a statement, etc. These efforts go a long way in repairing the franchise’s/league’s public perception – something that the Raiders are obviously unaware.

    I’m not sure that the Raiders organization would have responded to a similar situation in the same manner. As it is, we hear from them very rarely. To me, this goes back to how an organization is managed; and Al is stuck in the past, along with his management style. Some of the blame can also be placed on Trask, the COO, but then again, I’m sure Davis is very influential in how she does her job.

    That would be my guess.

  • Tom

    I think the analysis of the problems between Mr. Davis and Mr. Kiffin has been one-sided. I am not certain what actually transpired between the two men, and I doubt too many people actually know the entire truth. Yet, Mr. Kiffin was aware of the organizational structures before he signed on as a coach. Moreover, Mr. Kiffin, I believe, should also take responsibilites for a few mistakes–though he should also be forgiven for them. He drafted people he later let go before the season even began; he traded for people that were marginal in their abilities; and he traded away individuals that could have provided some assistance to the team under the right conditions. Of all the difficulties he may have caused himself, however, appears to be the reported flirtations with other employment possibilites while he was still under contract with the Raiders. No owner in the league would tolerate that sort of behavior! We should all remember, the owners of these teams are not bound by anything when it comes to the fans—we got ourselves addicted to the cicumstances we find ourselves in. It is the owners’ money, and they can do anything they want with it. The only choice we have as fans is to deny them that revenue!!!

  • Charger

    The Chargers fire a position coach, and Al hires him without informing his head coach. Love it. Maybe Lofton agreed to change Al’s Depends twice a day. Good old Al. We love him. He keeps the rest of the league entertained in the off-season, especially the AFC West. Plus we know the Raiders will continue to suck while he’s still around. Please live forever, Al.

  • # Hobs Gnarly Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 2:54 am

    “Madden, Do you sleep?”




    Ive been watching from the sidelines for a while now and i cant hold back much longer…I have always been an AD advocate whether i agreed with him or not. However this seems to be the lowest of lows and if AD is trying to undermine Kiff with the cruelest of intentions then I am going to hafta side now with those of you that cant wait for AD to push daisies. It is looking alot like Al is trying to make Kiffin so po’d that he will leave with nothing. I am not there to see what is really going on and my dad and i have been going to the games since before they came back to Oakland but If AD pulls this garbage without a reasonable explanation then he can kiss my $2000 out the window…I think i will save that money and go to Maui instead. Its not worth the garbage the old senile man is dishing out. Hey AD in case you are reading this…When people that used to love what you stood for are counting the heartbeats you have left and hoping you die..It might be time to retire. out.

  • Blackholepriest

    See what I mean Terrapin, The media can blow these people wich ever way they want, it works and they know it.

    They have no clue. But the Raiders start winning and Mr. Davis will have zero to do with it. But he did all these crazy things all along the way. It’s only him when things go wrong and someone else when they go right.

    People are really gullible.

    Gotta go!!!

  • MarsVolta

    Ok, I have to chime in on this. I am deffinately not a Davis applolgist. I disagree with him on many fronts when it comes to running our beloved football team. However, I think people need to really think about what transpired before rushing to judgment. Let’s face it Kiffin wanted a HC job in the college ranks. What would you do as an employer if your new prodigy employee was actively sending his resume out on the job? Why should Al give total control to a guy that is looking to use the Raiders as a spring Board to a Big Time College program? Check out this artcle by Bucky Brooks, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/bucky_brooks/01/28/raiders.situation/index.html, I know…I know He ued to play for the Raiders, but he also has a job with SI. People are so quick to berate the Raiders orginization, but lets not forget everything good about our history and the way our team has shaped the sport.



    Charger. hey congratulations on a successful year. YOur team was better than i thought it would be. However, it seems your team has gotten as far up the food chain that it is going to go..the rest is downhill from here. Im guessing that lofton was let go to scapegoat Norv for the shortcomings.

  • # Dakota Says:
    January 31st, 2008 at 5:51 am

    “The United Nations are diplomatic too, and they may be the only organization in the world that is more dysfunctional than the Raiders.”


    Compared to the Bush Administration, the UN are the New England Patriots.

  • Raider Mike

    It sure is going to be fun having all that extra room in the low 300’s this season. I actually think I like it better not sold out. Shorter lines at the pissers and more room to root. Silver and Black for Life!!!!

  • Dakota


  • Wow. Don’t any of you guys have jobs??? Shouldn’t you guys be working??? No wonder the economy is going down the toilet. Half the workers in the country must be on this site bitching.

    Priest has it right. Jeeeez, relax. Kiff did the interviews. Notice the last word. Interview(S). Capital S. Plural. You know what they talked about??? Football, the AFC West, what Lofton could bring to the Raiders, how Turner ran his offense, how to improve our recievers, how to practice, what to do in minicamps. Davis asked Kiff, “can you work with him?” “Yeah, it’d be a good hire.”
    Lofton leaves to go to the Super Bowl activities in Phoenix, Raiders organization works out a deal, they fax the deal to Lofton’s hotel, there you have it. Kiff’s not involved in that aspect. You know where Lane Kiffin is during this process????? Watching film. OFF COLLEGE PLAYERS YOU KNUCKLEHEADS!!!!! You know why??? That’s his job. Working out a deal with Lofton in NOT HIS JOB. oh and BTW, we have no confirmation Lofton has been hired have we???
    Priest do you know a good baby sitter to come in here??
    Lastly, the mods are editing my posts even tho I am ending them with positive public service announcements to the young people reading this blog. With that in mind, no more foul languange. At least for the time being. And Lofton would be an EXCELLENT HIRE.

    Kids, stay in school.

  • Dakota

    How much does a moderator make? Is it a good pick up line with chicks?

  • M

    BlackHolePriest, thank you for the input as always. I read the post, then all through the comments thinking to myself, ‘Coe was useless, James Lofton is a great hire (for Receivers and for his inside info on SD). What’s the problem?’
    Ah, but, the bloggers here have just spent last weekend frothing over the BSPIN rumors so inelegantly slung at the Silver and Black and those hereabouts needed a fix to get back on that vein of thinking. Chill out people, Kiffin is not the WR coach, he’s got a draft and FA’s to consider.

  • Fire Al

    Al must go away. His days, great as they were, are done!

  • M

    Thanks Oakglenn, as usual.

  • Steve

    So I’ll admit I didn’t read all the posts here but what’s to say that Kiffin didn’t give his blessing to hire Lofton and leave the contract process to the front office?

  • 301st Spartan


    I agree with you one hundred percent. Hopefully you’re right.

  • RaiderDogg

    Good post OG

    here is a video for a laugh, it’s an oldy but a goody.



  • jh

    Oakglenn…Some of us work from home….Right now though I am playing my guitar and hitting F5 once in awhile to be entertained by all the postings here…..Good thing I work for myself or I would have to fire me.

  • Raider Mike

    It hurts that we have lost more than we have won over the last 25+ years but staying the course will make it that much more fun when we win again, and we will. Do you think Metallica would play in any other parking lot other than the Colisuems’? I think not. Silver and Black for Life!!!!