Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

February 4, 2009
Al Davis unplugged

ALAMEDA - There's a lot to cover from today's press conference.

I'll post a lot more later since I hear the television networks didn't show the full press conference.

But I'll leave you with some tidbits from Raiders owner Al Davis for now from his chat with reporters after the television cameras stopped recording.

Davis remains one of the most fascinating people to speak with in sports and someone I enjoy listening to whenever he speaks.

On if Lane Kiffin was paid the money he sought in his grievance:

"F*** no."

When a reporter mentioned that Davis has a lot of input on what happens on the field:

"Bull****."

Why didn't the Raiders use younger players earlier?

"Because (Kiffin) wouldn't do it. That's why he had to get fired."

Why didn't young players play immediately after Cable became the interim head coach?

"Tom tried to start breaking it in but there was resistance from certain assistants and they're not here. There was resistance and there's always resistance when you have a veteran who's there, who knows you, who's been with you. But yeah I wanted to go young, I really did."

Did going young make sense to you?

"I'm not worried now whether it made sense or not. The idea was to go young because we were young. We had good young players. Not everyone believes our players are good. Someone the other day said we gotta go get a receiver. Who was it who said we should have drafted Calvin Johnson instead of JaMarcus Russell. He didn't show up today but their record was 0-16 last year with Calvin Johnson. Then they said we should have drafted Larry Fitzgerald but the year we didn't draft Fitzgerald we drafted a guy who was considered the best offensive lineman in the draft and we had Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Jerry Porter, who everyone had thought had greatness in his future."

Davis on his health:

"What happened was in San Diego (in December) I went down. Now whether I was tripped or whether I fell, I went down, got up, start walking around and my right leg swelled up on me and to get the swelling out I couldn't go on the trip. But I'm fine now. I'm back again."

Do you wish you would have made a coaching change before the 2008 season?

"Naw. I tried to reason with the guy. I thought we could get something out of him and I wanted to push it through to see if I could push it through. I guess it was my stubborness too but he was bad. He was a liar, flat out, which I told you. I've never broken away from it. They know it. The players know it. He would lie to them about things and all he wanted to do was get out of here, get his money. If I had made the move at the start of the season I'm not sure I would have had cause."

On the Raiders' chances in 2009:

"I do like to win Super Bowls but I'm also realistic. I know where we are. We can win the division. We have to do a little bit more to win the division but winning Super Bowls, no, I don't think this team is ready yet. We may be a year away from putting another good group together. And of course No. 2 (JaMarcus Russell) that's a formidable thing. I really think (Paul) Hackett can handle him."

On Warren Sapp's criticism of the franchise:

"Well, you figure that one out. I gave Tommy Kelly $40 million and didn't give it to him."

On Rich Gannon's criticism:

"Rich played the greatest game in Super Bowl history in (2003). Just joking. Rich was very nice to us on TV in that last game when we beat Tampa wasn't he? He writes me notes he'd like to assist. More ex-Raiders who'd like to come back and work here than you can imagine."

There's more to come later. But here are some more notes from today.

*Russell might need ankle surgery. Davis said there are "chips" in his ankle that might need to be removed. Russell is already back in California.

*Derrick Burgess was also spotted at the facility. That's news because Burgess usually works out in Mississippi.

*Cable's coaching staff is complete with the exception of an offensive line coach. That's no big deal because Cable will help in that area.

Ted Tollner will be the passing game coordinator.

*Cable will continue to call plays on offense.

*Davis said he's not against sharing a stadium but would need to know more details such as how it would be paid for before sitting down with the 49ers. CEO Amy Trask oversees business ventures like that. Davis said he doesn't believe the Raiders are in discussions to extend their lease that expires in 2010.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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