So I’m sitting here like an idiot at 2:25 pm, waiting for Al Davis to start his “I fired Lance Kiffin for insubordination” press conference. I should have known, if Davis rarely gets to the office by 4:00, why should I expect him to be on time today?
Finally, the press conference starts. Only a half hour late! Oh, I hope Al says something about Tim Kawakami. Here’s what Al said.
— Kiffin isn’t going to get paid. He really enjoyed saying that.
— Five minutes after talking to Kiffin, Chris Mortensen from ESPN had the story. Al’s pissed.
— “I wasn’t going to do this, but now I’m going to.” Now he’s putting a letter he wrote to Kiffin in the beginning of the season on the overhead (which I imagine he penned with his finest quill).
— “Attack on Rob Ryan by Kiffin was unheard of in professional sports.”
— Kiffin was explicit in his desire to sign Javon Walker and DeAngelo Hall, among others.
— The letter from Davis to Kiffin reads, “I realize that you did not want to draft JaMarcus Russell. Get over it.”
— (still from the letter) “I do not have meetings with Rob (Ryan) at all. You do.”
— Lane wanted his father Monte to come be the Raiders defensive coordinator, even though Monte currently has that job in Tampa Bay, and that Monte called Al and asked if he could come to Oakland.
— There’s this business of me sending him a resignation letter. That’s not true at all.”
— Kiffin wanted the Arkansas job that Bobby Petrino bailed out on the Falcons for last season.
— “We had to let (Kiffin) go. It’s based on cause. It’s not based necessarily on performance.”
— Now Al’s lamenting losing Randy Moss and Kerry Collins.
— We’ll be back. I know that the light that shines brightest is the will to win.”
— Davis just called Kiffin “a flat-out liar.”
— “His father and Pete (Carroll, I’m guessing) are the advisors, and something got lost there.”
Now there’s no debating Al Davis has a great handle on the law. He’s won lawsuits against Alameda County and the NFL over the years, and somehow got away with not paying Mike Shanahan $250,000. And this press conference seemed more like a legal briefing than anything else. Nancy Gay of the Chronicle just asked if Davis feels like he has enough evidence that he would win if Kiffin filed a grievance through the NFL. Davis said (and I’m paraphrasing), “I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t sure I’d win”
The thing is, there are a lot more outstanding lawyers in the world than outstanding NFL team owners or player personnel people. If Al was the Managing General Partner of a law firm, it would probably be very successful. He isn’t senile, demented or stupid, he’s just far too confident in his own abilities, his ego is beyond gigantic and he seems to almost get more satisfaction winning court cases than football games. OK, maybe he is a little senile. The coaches and other Raider employees told him that Randy Moss had an injured foot that would never allow him to run again, forcing the Raiders to trade Moss to the Patriots for a fourth round choice against Al’s wishes? He’s worried about losing Kerry Collins, even though he had plenty of opportunities in Oakland and did nothing with them? Does he expect anybody to think other people are making personnel decisions in Alameda?
And I love how Davis takes no responsibility for what was going on with Lane Kiffin, even though it sounds like the bulk of the communication Al put forth was via written letter. How Davis is stating that Kiffin was signing free agents and others forced him to get rid of the players who are doing well. And this whole story about Monte Kiffin calling Davis and begging to be the Raiders D-coordinator sounds like b.s. Monte’s been in the league forever, why would he want to join the dysfunctional Raiders? I get the feeling this is a shot at Tampa Bay, because Al’s still pissed about them snatching up Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden, then immediately beating the Raiders in the Super Bowl.
So now all we’re waiting for is who the new coach is going to be. Man, I hope it’s Tom Flores. Nope, it’s Tom Cable. Yawn.