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Ravens consultant Saunders hired to run Raiders' offense

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The Oakland Raiders hired Al Saunders as their offensive coordinator Thursday, one day after interviewing him for the job, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Saunders, a former coordinator and head coach who had been a consultant for the Baltimore Ravens, interviewed for Raiders' head-coaching job in the past. He is a philosophical fit with new Raiders coach Hue Jackson and longtime owner Al Davis, and league sources expected the team to hire Saunders.

Al Saunders (above) worked with new Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson on the Baltimore Ravens' staff.
Al Saunders (above) worked with new Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson on the Baltimore Ravens' staff. (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press)

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday that the team allowed Saunders to talk to the Raiders because it never wants to deny a coach an opportunity.

Saunders was an offensive consultant in Baltimore the past two seasons, working on the staff with Jackson in 2009. Jackson went to Oakland last year as offensive coordinator and was promoted to head coach in place of Tom Cable earlier this week.

Saunders began his NFL career as the San Diego Chargers' receivers coach in 1983. He later was the Chargers' head coach for parts of three seasons, amassing a 17-22 record.

Saunders has been an offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams, as well as the assistant head coach for the Washington Redskins, with whom he spent two years with current Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell. During Saunders' first stint with the St. Louis Rams, as assistant head coach/receivers coach, the team won the Super Bowl.

The offensive coordinator job is just one of many the Raiders needed to fill. The only assistants under contract before Saunders' hiring were defensive line coach Mike Waufle and defensive backs coach Kevin Ross. Defensive coordinator John Marshall will not be back next season, although some of the other assistants still could be retained.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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