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Ex-Raiders coach Jackson believes owner sent him packing

  • By Dan Hanzus NFL.com
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Hue Jackson no longer is the Raiders' coach. That much we know for sure. Who's responsible for his exit remains very much a subject of debate.

In his introductory news conference Tuesday, new Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said it was his decision to fire Jackson after a single 8-8 season, citing his wish to start his tenure with his own coach in place.

But Jackson isn't convinced that's how it played out. According to the erstwhile coach, it was owner Mark Davis' need to put his fingerprints on the franchise his late father built that ultimately cost him his job.

"I'm not going to shed one tear, because I busted my ass for this organization, and I cherished the opportunity to do it," Jackson told Yahoo! Sports shortly after learning of his dismissal. "I have nothing but good things to say about the Raiders and their fans, and I'm proud of what I was able to accomplish in two years, as an offensive coordinator and coach.

"But it's Mark Davis' football team, and Mark's going to do what he thinks is best. In the end, I think he said, 'I want to put my own stamp on it,' and he wanted his own coach."

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Jackson sensed he was vulnerable when the younger Davis didn't allow him to participate in the GM search that ended with McKenzie's hiring from the Packers.

"I told him, 'Then I have a concern, because normally a GM that comes in wants to bring in his head coach,' " Jackson recalled. "I said, 'You can understand how that would make me feel,' and he said, 'Yes, I can.' I gave him three opportunities to give me a vote of confidence, and he didn't give me one. He said nothing.

"I knew then that there was a chance, regardless of how things went the rest of the season, that he wanted to make his own mark in this organization."

The Raiders were 7-4 at one point this season, but Jackson's bombast took on a different feel as Oakland stumbled to an 8-8 finish that kept the team out of the playoffs for a ninth consecutive season. Richard Seymour, perhaps the most respected veteran in the Raiders' locker room, hardly came to Jackson's defense during a Tuesday appearance on NFL Network.

Losing support of his players couldn't have helped Jackson's case, but he takes exception to the idea that he was the motivating force behind the trade for Carson Palmer, a decision now maligned by many who believe Oakland gave up way too much to acquire the veteran quarterback from the Bengals.

"When I think back on it, I think I'm being blamed, and have been blamed, for (all of that)," Jackson told Yahoo! "What gets me is, I know (Bengals owner) Mike Brown and I know Carson Palmer, but I didn't make the trade. That decision came from above. It involved draft picks and money. But it wasn't my call.

"I'm tired of people saying that I'm power hungry, that I'm a blowhard, that I'm saying all the wrong things. I never said I wanted to be the general manager. I said I wanted input. What coach wouldn't want some input in the direction of the organization?"

Jackson clearly believes he's been wronged here, and you can be sure this isn't the final salvo from either side. Al Davis might be gone, but there remains no shortage of drama in the land of Silver & Black.

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