The signals in the Scot McCloughan story are so mixed and confused it looks as if he could wind up in Oakland.
McCloughan’s father, Kent McCloughan, was an All-AFL Raiders cornerback and remains a Raiders scout.
McCloughan’s brother, Dave, also worked for the Raiders.
During Raiders-49ers joint practices over the past two years, McCloughan made long stops at the golf cart where Al Davis was watching, paying his respects and trading ideas.
In conversations and e-mails with different media outlets, McCloughan has seemed to indicate he wasn’t ready to leave while at the same time conceding family issues had been an issue.
Perhaps it’s all designed to keep things as muddled as possible before an agreement is reached, but it’s clear McCloughan is done with the 49ers.
It’s been speculated already McCloughan could be headed toward Green Bay, where he worked under Ted Thompson and was a disciple of Ron Wolf.
Wolf, of course, was a Raiders exec during the glory years. Depending on who you talk to, Wolf was either solely responsible for the Raiders success or watched dutifully as Davis spun his magic.
In any event, there’s a lineage between McCloughan and the Raiders. He understands how Davis thinks, and having been a general manager, would be willing to speak his mind and disagree. And despite the popular perception, Davis invites dissent and debate. (He may not be swayed by it, but that’s another story).
If you’ve ever spent 10 minutes with McCloughan, it’s abundantly clear he’s not shy about giving his opinion. He’s sure enough of himself to know he’ll always get another job.
Sometimes that’s what it takes to succeed with the Raiders. That’s what Pat Swilling said about Jon Gruden in 1998 when asked why Gruden could succeed where others had failed.
“Because he knows he can get another job,” Swilling said.
As much as been made about not wanting to work for Davis, there’s an unspoken factor to consider.
Davis is 80 years old. Perhaps he’ll go another decade making all the decisions, more likely he won’t. Davis has said on the record he is looking for someone to help with the football operation. Some of his most trusted employees and former employees have been shaking their heads, saying he needs help. John Madden said it on the record in a Q&A with the New York Post.
Q: Should Al Davis hire a football czar?
Madden: I think he knows that he should. When he had Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden, that was a pretty good team.
McCloughan is more of a personnel guy than Allen. He’s not a coach, like Gruden, But, at some point, an executive who knows, likes and understands Davis might get himself in position to have a major say in running an NFL franchise.