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Herrera wasn’t the problem

Not sure whether all the glee among fans about longtime Raiders senior executive John Herrera’s departure is amusing or sad.

It’s certainly misguided.

Herrera showed up to work every day, even through times of immense personal tragedy, and backed his boss, Al Davis. He made statements to the press when told to do so _ even when he may not of agreed with Davis. Not that he’d ever admit it. That’s the kind of loyalty Al engendered among many of his employees, for better or worse.

He had one bad moment captured by camera _ an argument with columnist Tim Kawakami when Herrera had produced a story critical of coach Lane Kiffin for media consumption. It was pure, wacky Raiders _ a team employee actually alerting media members about a story which backed the owner at the expense of a head coach on his way out.

But a moment Herrera probably regrets hardly encapsulates his time with the Raiders.

He started out of high school, with Davis only wanting to know if he had his driver’s license, so Herrera could shuttle players, coaches, whoever, to and from the airport and run errands. Herrera set up training camps in Oxnard and Napa, left alone to handle the myriad details. Davis left him in charge of the Irwindale stadium issue, with a full staff at his disposal.

He worked in almost every corner of the organization. Knew Davis well enough that the owner let him use his home in Palm Springs for vacations. He’s probably got a million stories he’ll never tell about the bad side of his boss as well, because Davis was seldom diplomatic and sometimes cruel.

Somehow, maybe it was the Kawakami video, perhaps it was the pro-Raider stances that were his job during losing years, Herrera became the lightning rod for what ailed the franchise. As if things will certainly be better now that he’s gone.

Within a fairly short period of time, Herrera worked through an agonizing time when his wife was stricken with cancer and eventually died, and had a younger brother die of a heart attack. He’s had some health issues of his own, and a little less stress in his life can’t hurt.

Herrera called it a “meeting of the minds” and described the parting as amicable. My understanding is it was a business-side decision, and not made in the football realm. Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen are working feverishly on football and McKenzie has only recently begun worrying about handling the media _ one of Herrera’s duties in the past few years.

I talked to Herrera tonight, and predictably, he had nothing bad to say about the organization which encompassed almost all of his adult life.

“It’s been something I’ve been really thinking about since Al passed away last October,” Herrera said. “I had a great run. I was there 35 years, three different tours of duty. Particpated in three different Super Bowls. I had an unbelievably great relationship with the owner and his family since I was a kid in 1963.”

The common perception, because of a couple of instances, is that Herrera as perennially at war with the media and those who critcized Davis. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most of us understood that when he had an issue with something we said or wrote, he was carrying out orders from the top.

In fact, when Herrera’s wife passed away, media members took up a collection on his behalf and purchased gift cards for food at a local food establishment near where he lived. He had young daughters who were griveing as well, and in those times, preparing food isn’t exactly a priority.

What’s next for Herrera? Getting healthy. Watching his daughters’ sporting events. Herrera re-married four months ago, and his stepson is a pitcher in the Reds’ organization and he plans on seeing spring training.

He’ll still be attending some Raiders’ legends functions. An event for Clem Daniels. A roast for Tom Flores. There are a few opportunities in the sports business.

“I don’t have anything negative to say,” Herrera said. “I’ve been a Raiders fan since I was 14 and the AFL was formed and my family gave up 49ers tickets in 1960. I developed great friendships with players and coaches and front office people. I’m not going to be able to turn any of that off. All I can do is wish them the best.”

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Marks hair

    That hubert hire sure looks like the buddy system.. Coaches fraternity..

  • RaiderRockstar

    We can all see how desperate of a reach it is to hire him on as a secondary coach. I get that Marvin likes him and this was probably a sympathy hire.

    ***

    Cincy has the best nail salons in the league!

  • bcz24

    Guess who immediately hopped a flight to Cincy… Stanford Routt, guess Hue didn’t lose the ‘whole’ lockerroom.

    Mistic is a flip-flopper. The only reason he flipped on Hue was because Hue didn’t like JC. Nothing else would have mattered if Hue would have continued to kiss JCs ass

  • Just Fire Baby

    When Mike Brown thinks you did a crappy job as a GM, that is saying something.

  • http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXj7I1RzLSE&feature=related exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Mike Brown:”Welcome back home Hue. I’ll have Bruce Gradkowski show you around and introduce to a few fellows. Need a locker? There is an empty one with the initials C.P. over there.”

  • http://www.addictedtoquack.com RaiderDuck

    Richard Bentley Says:
    February 17th, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Cable goes to a NEW team as Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Line Coach. Seems like Cable had a much softer landing and is much better thought of than Hue.

    =============================================

    Part of this is because Cable’s season-ending statements were a lot milder than Hue’s, and because he didn’t go running to Mike Silver to dish up a lot of real and/or imagined dirt.

  • Hardline

    Well guys, at least Hubert can start his Pimpin Magnificent all over again if he really was hired by the Bengals. He’s excellent at scraping, scratching, twisting and flipping. Also with such a thick skull he can get cracked over the head, and take it.

    The problem is there is not addle-pated old owner in the final stages of dementia who Hue can fool. Guess that leaves him running a water boy and changer of weights.

  • Just Fire Baby

    That’s right, Hue and Gradkowski back together again, lol.

  • RaiderLen

    Afternoon Fellas,

    Assuming Bush is a goner….

    Clinton Portis anyone?

    Imagine he’s come cheap, he’s 30 and supposedly healthy.

  • Marks hair

    blaming herrera 4 the raiders problems, is like blaming tiger woods when your rolex brakes.. it’s just venomous people wanting to sink their teeth into someone..

  • bcz24

    I said we should have signed Portis when DMac got hurt, if for nothing else than the fact that he is a nasty pass protector. Wouldn’t get much more than a few draw plays here or there out of him.

  • Method To My Madness

    Hahahahaha RrS…out one ear jazz lol…funny stuff…but funnier is your claim Palmer is better in WCO when u guys were saying he would be betterwith last year offense after full year under belt….you palmer lackeys are hopeless….you can’t even explain why Palmer is better suited for wco becuz you know you will dig yourself a hole lmao

  • RaiderRockstar

    Carson Palmer played in the West Coast offense in USC under Paul Hackett and was an absolute disaster.

    ***

    Raid,

    so Palmer hasn’t learned anything in the last 10 or 11 years?

    Paul Hackett = Greg Knapp?

    you know a lot can happen between being a soph or junior in college and being a 10 year NFL vet who was the #1 overall draft pick and 2x Pro Bowler.

    Palmer has started all 16 games at QB 5 times during his NFL career and every time has thrown for over 3,000 yards & 20 TD’s

  • http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXj7I1RzLSE&feature=related exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Man just like Hue to land on his feet. Best Ribs in Cincy, Montgomery Inn. BBQ to die for. lol
    http://www.montgomeryinn.com

  • bcz24

    The fact that Saunders was kept around was all the proof I need to know we aren’t running a full WCO.

  • Just Fire Baby

    I love this whole WCO/Palmer thing, as if Knapp is going to have him running naked bootlegs and a ton of roll-out passes.

    Newsflash, the offense won’t look much different than last year, other than less turnovers and penalties.

  • Method To My Madness

    Bcz…Portis huh? Interesting I say…maybe a new shot woulda motivated him some

  • Richard Bentley

    Just to add: The Bengals made the playoffs this year. And Marvin hired Hue, but he put him in a position where he couldn’t screw the team up – on the end of the bench. Like someone said, a sympathy hire. Smart of Marvin to position him that way. Plus with the added first this year and the second next year, they’re a team that is going to move up in a tough division. Zimmer is a very good defensive coordinator and Chucky’s brother is the offensive coordinator – still a little raw but he is growing into the position. Jackson has no future on that team and he knows it.

  • RaiderLen

    Bcz24 Says:
    February 17th, 2012 at 12:30 pm
    I said we should have signed Portis when DMac got hurt, if for nothing else than the fact that he is a nasty pass protector. Wouldn’t get much more than a few draw plays here or there out of him.
    ———————————-
    I’d be curious to know if anything was left in the tank.

    Strictly as a back up.

    Looking at His history, He fell off the table due to injury in 09 and 10, but was very productive until that time.

    I’d take a flyer.

  • Pingback: PFT: Tebow draws ‘few more girls’ in Westwood « Sports Greatest Rivalries

  • RaidaRay

    I wonder if Jerry or Steve are writing something as we blog?

    Title: “Jackson goes back home to momma” saves Raiders 1.6 million!

  • Method To My Madness

    RrS…..has nada to do with Palmer learning anything new…if something doesn’t fit your talent it never works….I keep using Drew Bleslow as an example from the late 90s and you Palmer lovers have no rebuttal…and we know Drew is way better than Carson ever was

  • RaiderRockstar

    Guess who immediately hopped a flight to Cincy… Stanford Routt, guess Hue didn’t lose the ‘whole’ lockerroom.

    ***

    BCZ,

    I’ll take Nate Clements, Leon Hall or Kelly Jennings as a consolation for “losing” Routt!

  • Silverandblack666

    “Carson Palmer played in the West Coast offense in USC under Paul Hackett and was an absolute disaster.”

    Which is why he won the Heisman trophy and was the first pick in the draft!

    So either you are delusional or the rest of the football world is….hmmmm

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post

  • Dstomp

    Method To My Madness Says:
    February 17th, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    RrS…..has nada to do with Palmer learning anything new…if something doesn’t fit your talent it never works….I keep using Drew Bleslow as an example from the late 90s and you Palmer lovers have no rebuttal…and we know Drew is way better than Carson ever was
    *********************************
    and you also said Tebow was a better QB because he won a playoff game, wtf man.

  • bcz24

    Portis could definitely bring something to the table for us. Like I said he is a nasty pass protector, we don’t need him to be a 1000 yard rusher, if we got 500 out of him it would be fantastic.

  • RaidO

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    February 17th, 2012 at 12:32 pm
    Carson Palmer played in the West Coast offense in USC under Paul Hackett and was an absolute disaster.

    ***

    Raid,

    so Palmer hasn’t learned anything in the last 10 or 11 years?

    Paul Hackett = Greg Knapp?

    you know a lot can happen between being a soph or junior in college and being a 10 year NFL vet who was the #1 overall draft pick and 2x Pro Bowler.

    Palmer has started all 16 games at QB 5 times during his NFL career and every time has thrown for over 3,000 yards & 20 TD’s
    ________________________________________________

    Palmer had 2 good(decent) years in Cinci with at the time a top WR(Ocho) in the NFL. He is an INT machine. Always has been.
    You think Aaron Brooks was any good? Most would say no. Raiders have an Aaroon Brooks caliber QB making $12.5 million a year and that’s just ridiculous. He should be shown the door just like Routt.

    Carson Palmer:
    62.9%, 22694y, 154tds, 100ints, 86.9r, 4.8td%, 3.1int%
    46-51 (.474), 0-2 (.000)

    Aaron Brooks:
    56.5%, 20261y, 123tds, 92ints, 78.5r, 4.2td%, 3.1int%
    38-52(.422), 1-1 (.500)

  • Marks hair

    462. The wc O takes what the defense give them.. Teams respect our wr speed and generally pic their poison in coverage.. I think the option routes in the wc will allow carson to pic apart a secondary rather than force the ball where hue wants it..

  • ohioraider

    dbaz09 Says:
    February 16th, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    From a fan’s perspective, Herrera represented all that was wrong with the Raiders during the last ten years. Paranoid, secretive, overly defensive and down right nasty in the same manner Davis would be if he were in better health. The Kawakami incident comes to mind but the handling of Gannon situation reinforced the bizarro image in which the organization operated. And all that might have been if o.k. as long as the team won. The fact that they didn’t probably made things appear worse than they actually were. Interesting to hear JMac’s take on the man but the perception remains the same… Herrera had to go.
    —————————————-
    Exactly. I commend this and many other common sensical posts on this topic. Finally those of us who sought big changes–who knew it was the only solution–have a great deal of company. And we’ve been vindicated by just about every decision coming down.

    As for “being just another franchise” (i.e. corporatized), you can thank the relentless growth and greed of the NFL for that reality. You either keep up or fall behind. We fell behind. The future is bright.

  • olinesux

    only a bunch of whiner fans hated herrera…guy was/is what a raider fan should be….

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