Cable out as Raiders coach after team declines option

The Oakland Raiders informed Tom Cable on Tuesday night that they will not pick up the option in his contract, the team announced.

"Coach Cable was informed the club would not be exercising its option for the 2011 season, and that he's free to seek employment elsewhere," his agent, Don Yee, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "Teams already have shown interest in Tom."

Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson will take over as the new head coach, a source close to Jackson told the *San Francisco Chronicle*. Earlier Tuesday, the 49ersasked for permission to interview Jackson for their head coaching vacancy.

But Raiders senior executive John Herrera says the team has not talked to any candidates yet.

Owner Al Davis brought Jackson in after last season to take over the play-calling duties from Cable. Led by a breakout season from running back Darren McFadden and big plays from rookie receiver Jacoby Ford, the Raiders finished sixth in the league in scoring with 410 points. That was the sixth-most points scored in a season in franchise history and more than doubled last year's scoring output.

The Raiders also could have interest in Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, who was a quarterbacks coach in Oakland from 2002-03 and is close with Davis. Harbaugh is also being sought by the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins.

With a 31-10 victory over the AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Cable led the Raiders to an 8-8 record this season, ending a run of seven consecutive losing seasons and completing a perfect 6-0 mark in the division.

But Cable was 17-27 overall since taking over as coach in the middle of the 2008 season for Lane Kiffin.

"The Raiders express gratitude to Tom Cable for his contributions in his four seasons as an assistant and as head coach of the Silver and Black," the Raiders said in a statement.

It's the first time the Raiders posted a perfect record in their division since their 1976 Super Bowl season and the first time since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger that a team won all its division games and didn't make the playoffs. But the Raiders went just 2-8 outside the AFC West this season, with five of those losses coming to teams with losing records.

In an interview on Sirius NFL Radio Tuesday night prior to the Raiders' announcement, Cable sounded resigned to to losing his job.

"I want to be the head coach here, I just don't have any control over it," Cable said. "We'll see what the future holds and what comes of it. If not, I think I proved I can be a head coach in this league and succeed and win.

"I think I've proven I can handle it and get it done through some tough circumstances. Whatever happens it's the right thing and we'll go from there."

The Raiders interviewed candidates after the 2008 season before deciding to stick with Cable. After his interim season, Cable received a new contract that expires in two weeks, meaning the Raiders had to decide by Jan. 17 whether to exercise the two-year, $5 million option on his deal or allow him to leave.

The 2009 season was marred by an investigation into whether he assaulted assistant Randy Hanson and allegations of a history of violence toward women.

The Raiders will begin their search for the team's seventh head coach since the 2001 season. With 44 games as coach, Cable has lasted longer than anyone in that position since Jon Gruden spent four years as head coach before leaving for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Pro Bowl punter Shane Lechler, who has played for six coaches since joining the Raiders in 2000, said it would be a shame if Cable did not return.

"I seriously believe that it would set us back again," Lechler said Monday. "I can't go through another head coach. I just can't. I've been through too many of them. And they all come in here and say the same thing: 'I'm going to do this, I'm going to turn this.' No, you're not. I'd rather be with the guy that's here right now, and we'll roll with him."

This season was marked by indecision at quarterback. The Raiders acquired Jason Campbell in the offseason from Washington to replace draft bust JaMarcus Russell. Davis compared Campbell in training camp to two-time Super Bowl winner Jim Plunkett, but Campbell was benched after just six quarters.

Campbell got the job back when Bruce Gradkowski injured his shoulder and eventually won three straight games to put the Raiders in first place in November. But he was benched again after a blowout loss at Pittsburgh.

The Raiders lost the following week at home to Miami when Gradkowski re-injured his shoulder. Campbell started the final four games.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.