Saints coach Payton recalls interview with Raiders’ Davis




Sean Payton enters the 2010 season as the high-profile coach of the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

Five years ago, he was an assistant coach of the Dallas Cowboys and angling for his first head coaching gig in the NFL. Raiders managing general partner Al Davis had first crack.
At the time, I contacted Maurice Carthon, who also worked for the Cowboys, in an attempt to see how the interview went.
Carthon told me, without prompting, that Payton had accepted the job and was on his way to Oakland as the successor to Norv Turner in 2005. That was before Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and then-coach Bill Parcells had their say.
Jones gave Payton a $500,000 raise, and he and Parcells persuaded Payton to stick around and wait for a better opportunity. Sure enough, it came in 2006, when he was hired by the Saints.
Davis kept Norv Turner as his coach, and Turner stayed one more season in a 9-23 stint over two seasons.
Parcells, along with former Raiders coaches Bill Callahan, Jon Gruden and John Fox, reportedly discouraged Payton from accepting the Raiders job.
In a new book just released, called “Home Team: Coaching the Saints and New Orleans Back to Life”, Payton recounted the events of his interview with Davis thusly.
A day after he agreed to coach the Raiders, Jones called and invited Payton to his house for a face-to-fact chat.
“If Jerry’s the last guy you see before you make a decision, you’re probably going to stay with him,” Payton says in his book.
So it was that Payton called his wife, Beth, and his agent after meeting with Parcells and informed them that he was staying with the Cowboys. The new contract came along with his decision to stick around.
In another fascinating anecdote, Payton recalled his interview with Davis in Alameda.
Payton says that Davis conducted the interview while wearing a black sweat suit. Nothing else about the process went as expected, either, according to Payton.
“Al is an extremely talented football guy. Few owners who interview can really talk about a defensive front, team travel and the salary cap,” Payton said. “He can hit on all these topics.”
Payton was a relative NFL neophyte at the time. Meeting with an NFL icon such as Davis made Payton more than a tad nervous.
“I walked into the bathroom, and I took three deep breaths,” Payton said. “I said: ‘I belong here. I belong here. I belong here.’ ”
The interview lasted into the night, which prompted Davis to suggest that they grab a quick meal.
“You like cheeseburgers?” Davis asked Payton.
“Of course I do,” Payton said.
Davis ordered an assistant to make a McDonald’s run for some cheeseburgers and some cole slaw from Kentucky Fried Chicken.
“The assistant says, ‘Mr. Davis, McDonald’s doesn’t have cole slaw,’ ” Payton said.”But Al wanted his cole slaw, so the assistant had to figure out what to do. So we’re sitting there — mind you, it’s about 11 p.m. — eating McDonald’s cheeseburgers and cole slaw from KFC. You know what a cold cheeseburger tastes like?”
In a strange twist, the Raiders now are coached by Tom Cable, who worked on the coaching staff at San Diego State with Payton in 1989 and remains a close friend of Payton’s.
You can bet that Cable and Payton have plenty of Davis tales to share whenever they get together for a beer or two and, perhaps, a cold cheeseburger and some cole slaw.


Steve Corkran

  • 504 Raider

    Sizzurp was made popular by Rappers from South Texas, namely UGK and DJ Screw (who OD’d and died from it). Loud slow rap music and syrup drinking and blunt smokin. It’s a down south Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia way of relaxing. Just about every part of Louisiana (EXCEPT NEW ORLEANS) does it as well. Down in the N.O. we don’t do no country azz sh!t like that.

  • That came from wiki. Sorry for the cut and paste. I’m not used to the hip-hop drug culture.

  • 504 Raider

    Al Davis 2

    Lane Kiffin 0

    JaMarcus Russell 0

  • JerryMac, you just got scooped by your blog.

  • raiderzmaverick

    Free agent JaMarcus Russell was arrested Monday afternoon for possession of a controlled substance, said to be codeine syrup or “Sizzurp.”
    The arrest took place after an undercover investigation of Russell’s home. Booked at 4:22PM Monday, the former No. 1 overall pick was released “minutes later” after posting $2,500 bail. Already drawing scant interest on the free agent market, Russell won’t latch on with an NFL team anytime soon after this news. He is scheduled to appear in court next on July 20th.
    Source: Mobile Press-Register

  • toec

    purple drank!! w00t!


    Did anyone read the Willie Gault interview on cnnsi looks 30 n still runs a 4.37 n set world records n wants a tryout 4 a team n u know Al heck wont cost much n sell some tix .

  • From PFT:

    …….Daniela Werner of the Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register reports that Russell was arrested in his home during an undercover investigation that resulted in the discovery of codeine syrup, which often is mixed with soda and called “purple drank” or “lean” or “sizzurp.”

    One and the same. LOL

    Great news to finish my day!

  • RNOraiderFan

    So J Russell got busted with some codine cough syrup. I’m sure he was taking it for a vald medical reason, we all know he is a choaker!

  • RNOraiderFan

    Bad joke, who cares.

  • New copy and paste post from Steve Cochran.

  • severeraiderz

    So J Russell got busted with some codine cough syrup. I’m sure he was taking it for a vald medical reason, we all know he is a choaker!


    Russell been sippin that barre

  • fat kidd

    JaMarcus Russell Arrested for Possession of Controlled Substance12
    Say Something »

    7/05/2010 7:20 PM ET By R.J. White

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    R.J. White
    Fantasy Sports and NFL Writer
    In what will likely be the straw that breaks the very large, overweight camel’s back for his NFL career, JaMarcus Russell was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, as reported by Daniela Werner of the Alabama Press-Register.

    The arrest came as part of an undercover investigation by the Mobile County sheriff’s office, who revealed the controlled substance in question was codeine syrup.

    The former Oakland Raiders quarterback has been released on bail and has a court date set for July 20.

    Despite showing next to no ability in the NFL since stepping on to a bad Raiders team as the No. 1 overall pick in 2007, Russell had been looking to sign with an NFL team as a backup after being released by the Raiders this past May.

    Predictably, there was little interest (if any) from NFL teams in regards to acquiring Russell’s services.

    This arrest is likely to scare off any potential suitors, which means Russell could have played his last down in the NFL.

  • Vinous

    #47 – Veldheer won’t face NFL players with more athletic prowess than he has…he was the only player in the entire combine to finish in the top 10 of every event within his position grouping. I just think he will need one year to catch up.