How close are the Raiders to choosing a head coach?
“It could be tomorrow. It could be three weeks from now,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said Thursday night.
The Raiders held their second interview with interim coach Tony Sparano Wednesday, Davis said. Sparano and Davis spoke for more than two hours before the regular-season finale against Denver and have spoken often since the end of the season.
Included in the session Wedneday with Sparano was Raiders Hall of Fame coach John Madden, as well as general manager Reggie McKenzie and team executives Marc Badain, Dan Ventrelle and Tom Delaney.
Candidates who have interviewed so far besides Sparano include Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, former NFL coach Mike Shanahan, and 49ers tight ends coach and former NFL coach Eric Mangini.
The Raiders were also reportedly interested in Dallas Cowboys passing game coordinator Scott Linehan, although there has not been an interview conducted.
Bevell, Del Rio and Hamilton are off-limits until the week before the Super Bowl at the earliest if their teams remain in the playoffs. All become available immediately after a loss. Linehan, since he hasn’t been interviewed, is not available until after the Super Bowl if his team makes it that far.
Davis said that he was interested in hiring a coach with experience as an NFL coach but wasn’t wedded to the idea and declined to say whether there is a candidate as yet unidentified by the media who could emerge.
Although Shanahan was fired by Raiders owner Al Davis in 1989 and the two remained bitter enemies over a contract dispute, Mark Davis defended the decision to touch base with Shanahan in this coaching search.
“This is something I learned from my Dad,” Davis told Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami. “You listen to everybody because you can learn from anybody.”
Davis, who mostly sat out the process in 2012 while McKenzie conducted the search which landed Dennis Allen as head coach, called the process “educational” and disputed a Bleacher Report story which said candidates were hesitant to join the Raiders because of their unsettled front office structure.
“I’ve never heard that,” Davis said.