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Raiders fire general manager Reggie McKenzie

Reggie McKenzie's run as the general manager of the Oakland Raiders has come to an end.

McKenzie held a meeting with team scouts Monday and informed the group he was fired, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. McKenzie was provided the opportunity to stay through the team's final three games, but he is not expected to do so, Rapoport added. The team later made the announcement official.

"The Raiders have released Reggie McKenzie from his duties as General Manager," the team released in a statement. " We are grateful for everything Reggie has done for this organization as a player, executive and member of the Raider family. We wish the best for Reggie, June and the entire McKenzie family.

"The Raiders will immediately begin a search for a new front office executive and will have no further comment until that process is complete.

The firing comes a day after head coach Jon Gruden declined to discuss whether McKenzie would be back in 2019.

"I don't have any comment on that," Gruden told reporters after Sunday's win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, via the Raiders' official website. "We're going to build this team back. I know that. We're going to bring the Raiders back, that's all I'll say."

The divide between Gruden and McKenzie reared its head in September, when Rapoport reported an existing disconnect among the personnel responsible for evaluating players.

"I'm not going to sit up here today and talk about any disconnect," Gruden said Monday. "We were connected. We're very good friends and very connected. I'll leave it at that."

Since Gruden returned to the sideline, the Raiders jettisoned numerous players McKenzie drafted or brought in as free agents since he joined the organization as the general manager in 2012.

The two biggest departures via trade were outside linebacker Khalil Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper, and Gruden has stockpiled draft picks with a view to the future. As of now, the Raiders are set to enter the 2019 draft with three first-round draft picks as a result of the high-profile trades.

"I think any coach wants input," Gruden said. "Let's be honest. I've had input here. I had input on the draft picks that we made when I was here with Al Davis, I had some input on the draft this year. And I think it's a collaboration around the league. I think the general manager, the scouts, the coaching staff, sometimes the owner, all work together in every selection. So yeah I would like to be involved for obvious reasons."

As to his critical comments of Oakland's recent drafts, Gruden said, "I don't think you can write the book yet. A lot of those guys are still developing, and still a part of the NFL. Some aren't with us, some are. But I'm not going to reiterate anything that went wrong. I do know this: We have to get better in a lot of areas, and that's what we're going to strive to do."

What Gruden is doing with the roster is reminiscent of what McKenzie did when he arrived in 2012. McKenzie, who played for the Raiders from 1985-88, joined Oakland's front office after spending 18 years with the Green Bay Packers (1994-2011), and went about rebuilding the Raiders.

In addition to drafting Mack and Cooper, McKenzie brought in Derek Carr as the team's franchise quarterback and the Raiders made the playoffs in 2016 for the first time since 2002. He was named the NFL Executive of the Year after the 12-4 campaign by the Pro Football Writers of America.

Oakland went 39-70 overall, including 0-1 in the playoffs, with McKenzie as the general manager. He drafted four players to make the Pro Bowl: Mack, Cooper, Carr and running back Latavius Murray. Only Carr remains on the roster.

With McKenzie out of the picture, the rebuilding of the Raiders now rests squarely on Gruden's shoulders and whomever he has appointed help evaluate talent.

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