Posted at 2:46 p.m., Friday, January 25, 2008
NFL: Raiders deny report Al Davis asked Kiffin to quit
By Josh Dubow
ESPN, citing unidentified sources, reported that Davis drew up a resignation letter for Kiffin two weeks ago, but the coach refused to sign it. Kiffin has two years left on the contract he signed last January.
"There is no issue here," Raiders senior executive John Herrera said. "There was never an issue here. There's nothing to it."
Kiffin declined to address the report when asked about it by ESPN at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
"I'm not going to comment on anything that has transpired in the past three weeks," said Kiffin, who is coaching the North team in the college all-star game.
Speculation about Kiffin's status began three weeks ago after reports surfaced following the season that he wanted to fire defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The Raiders dismissed those reports and announced that Ryan was staying on as coordinator.
Kiffin told reporters at the Senior Bowl earlier in the week that his relationship with Ryan "is not an issue."
Kiffin is scheduled to interview former San Diego Chargers receivers coach James Lofton on Monday for a potential job on the Raiders' staff, Herrera said.
Lofton, who was fired earlier this week by San Diego, interviewed for the head coaching job in Oakland the previous two years. Lofton lost out to Art Shell in 2006 and to Kiffin last year.
Kiffin, 32, was the youngest man to coach a game in the NFL since Harland Svare took over the Los Angeles Rams as a 31-year old in 1962. He overhauled almost the entire coaching staff after he arrived, hiring 14 new assistants.
The team went 4-12 in his first season in Oakland, doubling the team's win total from the previous year and showing signs of improvement in many areas.
But the defense under Ryan struggled despite returning all 11 starters as well as some key reserves from a unit that allowed the fewest yards passing and third fewest total yards in the league in 2006.