Oakland Raiders fire first-year coach Hue Jackson

By Josh Dubow

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 10 2012 6:12 p.m. MST

Reggie McKenzie answers questions during his introduction as the general manager of the Oakland Raiders NFL football team, during a news conference in Alameda, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012.

Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Reggie McKenzie made clear on his first day as Raiders general manager that there's a new regime in Oakland.

Soon after officially signing his contract to be the first general manager since longtime owner Al Davis' death, McKenzie fired coach Hue Jackson in a bold first move as he looks to give the organization a fresh start.

"There comes a time when change is necessary," McKenzie said Tuesday. "For the Raiders the time is now. The Raiders organization, with respect and deference for all its tradition and history, is about to embark on a new era."

The era will begin without Jackson, who was fired after going 8-8 in his first season as head coach. McKenzie wanted to bring in his "own guy" to rebuild the organization.

Finding that coach will be the first major task for McKenzie, who also must bulk up the personnel department and evaluate the roster in what promises to be a busy offseason.

Owner Mark Davis said McKenzie will decide on the new coach and the personnel decisions, with the coach ultimately reporting to the general manager.

That's a major change from how the organization was run before Davis' father, Al, died of heart failure on Oct. 8. Al Davis made all the major decisions when he was in charge of the team, with many of those now falling to McKenzie as Mark Davis focuses on finding a new stadium and other off-field issues.

"Change happened on October 8th," Davis said. "''The one thing I know is what I don't know. The one thing I did know was I needed to bring the right people in here. ... My feeling always has been that if my father wasn't here we needed someone to run that football side of the building. I needed to find the right person. I truly believe that Reggie McKenzie is the right man for this job."

McKenzie had spent the past 18 years in the front office of the Green Bay Packers, last serving as director of football operations. He was well-respected for his role in helping to build a Super Bowl championship team with the Packers and also had ties to the Raiders, having played linebacker for four years with the team in the 1980s.

Many of his former teammates were on hand at the news conference introducing him.

"Guys, this is where I came from. I'm back home now. I'm back home," he said. "As soon as Mark told me 'We want you for the job' I couldn't, you know, I couldn't stop smiling."

Davis said he had targeted McKenzie as his desired general manager in the weeks after his father's death and noted it was awkward when he ran into him at the Raiders' game in Green Bay last month. About an hour after Oakland's season ended, Davis had the organization formally request permission from the Packers to interview McKenzie.

They sat down for a six-hour interview last Wednesday, with former Raiders coach John Madden assisting Davis. They quickly finalized the deal and McKenzie signed it Tuesday morning.

He then immediately fired Jackson, marking a rapid fall for the man who was in charge of personnel decisions and coaching after Davis' death.

Jackson made the trade for quarterback Carson Palmer after starter Jason Campbell broke his collarbone, costing the Raiders a 2012 first-round draft pick and a conditional 2013 second-rounder.

While Palmer showed signs of giving the Raiders a big-time quarterback, he was unable to get Oakland to the playoffs for the first time since 2002, raising questions about how effective that trade was.

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