By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 at 9:55 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Here’s a transcript of an interview former Raiders exec Ron Wolf did on 95.7 The Game (FM). Interesting to note at the bottom Wolf said he is not serving in any sort of advisory capacity with the club. It’s at least the second time he’s said it, which hasn’t slowed the belief that he’s in the ear of owner Mark Davis. The other names mentioned as being “advisors” have been John Madden and Ken Herock.
Madden has been at some games, and given his loyalty to Al Davis, there’s no reason to think he doesn’t pick up the phone every time Mark calls. As for Herock, he’s been at practices, talking to coaches, taking to players as well as Mark Davis as Amy Trask. He’s been at games as well. When I asked Trask about Herock’s involvement, she said he was “part of the Raider family.” Herock also worked at Green Bay with Wolf and while McKenzie was there.
The transcript from an interview conducted on 95.7:
Q: How are Raiders run compared to other franchises?
Wolf: I’m not into that really and truly. It’s an area I don’t know that much about. I do know having worked 25 years under Al Davis with the Raiders exactly what that was like when he was in control. The great thing about working for him was the fact that you knew what you were supposed to do and you were given the opportunity to do that. Everything was compartmentalized. I do not know what the structure is today or what it’s like because I left in 1990, but it would seem to me that whole thing has fallen apart from the sense of a structural standpoint. And I think that’s what the need to get back.
Q: Seems that now Hue Jackson getting involved in everything, even wants to be involved in hiring of a GM. How involved should he be in that process?
Wolf: Again, this is an area I’m not familiar with. I really don’t know Hue Jackson at all other than by reputation, and I would think the hiring of a general manager is in the auspices of the owner, certainly not the head football coach. If the head football coach wants to be in it, why not the head of marketing or the head of personnel, not personnel, public relations. You could run down the whole gamut of who should be in there, but I would think that’s the owner’s bailiwick and the owner should take care of it. And it sounds to me, what I’ve heard, is the owner is going to take care of that.
Q: Is Mark Davis the type that wants to be front and center, wants to be out there, or does he want to be behind the curtain?
Wolf: I think what Mark Davis’ deal is, he wants to bring the Raiders back to where they were, the glory years of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s. I think that’s what he wants to do. I also think he’s smart enough to realize what he can and cannot do, what he’s capable of and what he isn’t capable of. So I think, rather than putting himself in the limelight, I would think that he is going to hire people that would enable him to bring out the best in the Raiders. He knows, I believe, Mark is smart enough to know what he can do, and he will only help in areas that he can help in. I don’t think he feels that he needs to be the front line guy here.
Q: How will having not many draft picks affect mindset of GM coming in?
Wolf: Well, if you’re a GM coming in, you have to realize there’s only 31 of those jobs. So if you want a job, obviously, you’re not going to get a job with a top-notch operation from a won-loss standpoint because they’re doing well. They’re not going to change. So you’re opportunity is in this particular end here, where they don’t have somebody. So you have to weigh that. Do you really want to be a general manager? And if you do, do when the opportunity presents itself, you have to bite the bullet and run with it.
Q: Raiders are open, the Bears, reports are Reggie McKenzie could have his choice between Chicago and Raiders. Which is the more appealing job?
Wolf: I think that would depend on the individual taking the job. I’ve been out 11 years so I’m not as conversant in who’s good, who’s not good, within the NFL, as I once was. I’m a fan now, so I can sit back and I can second guess like everybody else. It’s two-fold here. We’re talking about Reggie McKenzie, being at Green Bay obviously they play Chicago twice a year. He knows Chicago in and out. The ins and outs of Chicago. He does not know that much, probably the ins and outs of the Raiders, other than probably from a personnel standpoint. So it will be whatever’s most appealing to him. And fortunately for the Raiders, if they’re able to get someone the caliber of Reggie McKenzie that’s a big plus.
Q: What makes him so good? Why is Reggie McKenzie so special?
Wolf: Well, he’s worked his way right from the bottom up, all the way up to the top. He’s gone as far as you can go in his particular area, personnel. He’s handled every aspect in the personnel office that one could handle. He’s signed players. He’s cut players. He’s involved with players in contractual disputes. He’s handled things with the union. He understands how contracts work. He understands how the money end of the game works. He’s negotiated contracts. But most importantly, he’s an exceptional judge of talente.
Q: How best describe his day to day interpersonal skills? Intense, pragmatic, etc.?
Wolf: He functions very well. First of all, he’s a linebacker, and I think anyone understands the temperment of a linebacker. They are a little bit different breed. Reggie’s a little bit different in that standpoint. He came in as a rookie, I think he was a 10th round draft choice of the Raiders, and started, from the University of Tennessee. To me, that speaks volumes of his toughness, his mental and physical capabilities. He still has both of those, mental and physical capability. If he gets upset he can certainly hold his own in those areas. I just think he’s perfect.
Q: Some rumblings that if McKenzie comes here or Chicago, that your son, Elliot would be tandem, a hire with Reggie?
Wolf: I don’t know that. Let me say this, Reggie’s his own man. He will hire the people around him. Say, whatever job he gets _ or maybe he doesn’t get any job _ those will be Reggie’s people. He will hire the people he thinks can best help him do his job. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the names of my son or anyone else. Let me just say this, my son’s been involved with the Packers for eight years. He’s been involved long enough to know who can and who cannot do it, and he knows that. But I don’t think that Reggie would hire him just because he’s my son. He would hire him because he has the capability of helping Reggie become better.
Q: Alluded to fact had conversations with Mark, and he would hire a GM, how deep is your involvement in this process?
Wolf: I’m not involved in the process whatsoever. I talked to Mark a long time ago about what he wanted, what type of person he wanted and I recommended Reggie, that was the extent of it. I’m not involved at all.
Q: The perception is they were leaning on you more than you let on . . . you talked about Reggie in November, was that the last time you had contact with Mark?
Wolf: No, that’s not the last time, but I am not involved in Mark Davis’ search for the general manager. Let’s make this perfectly clear. Mark is going to do what he wants to do, how he wants to do it. I was called and asked about Reggie McKenzie and that was my recommendation. And I recommend him fully. He’s more than capable of being able to do the job.