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The World According To Al

Raiders managing general partner Al Davis, above, spoke to reporters for the first time in 16 months on Jan. 18, 2011. While the occasion was to announce the selection of Hue Jackson as Raiders coach, Davis dominated the reported 100-minute plus news conference at the team's Alameda, Calif. headquarters. At age 81, the Raiders' patriarch remains engaging and feisty.

Here's a sampling:

On accepting some of the blame for the Raiders' 37-91 record the past eight seasons:

"I have made mistakes. There’s no question about it. And you’ve got to have great players. But also, sometimes you have the players and don’t get it done. Should I take some of the blame? I certainly do. You guys give it to me.”

On former coach Tom Cable telling the media "We're not losers anymore" following a 31-10 Oakland win at Kansas City in their 2010 season finale:

“I went back and checked it thoroughly. Cable has been in football 20 years, had been with a winning team three years out of 20. I didn’t like his statement, and some of you took it and used it, but I didn’t like it. If that’s not being a loser in our world, I don’t know what it is, come in 500. That’s never been my goal.”

On former top draft pick JaMarcus Russell, cut by the Raiders in April 2010 after three disappointing seasons:

“We had a big investment in this guy. Basically, he’s a good person but he’s got personal problems, and I decided that it was time that we were not going to fight it anymore. I wasn’t going to. I wasn’t going to ask the coaching staff to do it, and I had already traded for Jason (Campbell) and had that in the back of my mind. We had (Bruce) Gradkowski, who was coming off an injury, who showed some ability to be a quarterback in this league.

“That was the thing with JaMarcus. It hurt us a great deal. But you have to go on. You have to overcome those things, and we almost did this year . . . JaMarcus hurt. Any time you lose a first-round draft choice it hurts. But it’s over.’’

On current coach Hue Jackson having similarities with former Raiders coach Jon Gruden:

“He was like, what’s his name? Gruden. Gruden was like that — feisty, he could lead the defense. But they are different, definitely, Hue Jackson and Jon Gruden. But on that particular thing they are very similar. So he must have learned that sitting up their every day, hours at night on the blackboard.”

On running back Darren McFadden, who became the Raiders' first 1,000 rusher in the 2010 season since Napoleon Kaufman in 1997:

"Someone gave me credit for not giving up on him. Anybody who’s watched him in practice would say the guy’s got greatness in him, but he’s got to stay well. That’s the problem with McFadden. If he stays well, we got greatness there."

On rookie Jacoby Ford, who set a Raiders record by returning three kickoffs for touchdowns:

"All these teams defer when they win the toss. They say they’ll kick off to you and they’ll take the ball in the second half. They don’t want to put the ball in the air to Jacoby Ford. We didn’t find out about Jacoby and that was something that bothered me. We knew about him, but we didn’t use him for a long time until he became a factor . . . you can’t just scout speed, you gotta have it.”

On a potential 18-game schedule:

"What does a club do that’s in a depressed area like Oakland, where we find out that the fans don’t have all the money we’re hoping they do? What do the Raiders do about 18 games, which means another home game? These are important things that we have to decide."

"There's no question that the ownership wants it, and (NFL commissioner) Roger (Goodell) seems to have a way of getting things done if he wants it. So I'd rather not say what I think but I think the business of injury is overplayed."

On winning a grievance hearing against former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin, who reportedly was seeking more than $300,000 after being fired in September 2008:

"I beat him because he lied. He's a liar. He lied to you guys (reporters).''

On the potential impact of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement helping the Raiders boost their revenues:

"We don't have the resources that other teams have, but, but, I think we've shown that we can compete. It's a question now of winning, and doing better than them. But it depends on what happens in the collective bargaining agreement."

On the development of wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who has only 37 receptions his first two NFL seasons:

"(He has) explosion. He can catch, he's getting better and he's a good guy. He's going to be good."

On Pro Bowl punter Shane Lechler, who vocied his displeasure to reporters after coach Tom Cable wasn't retained:

"Shane said publicly he wasn't coming back (after the 2008 season), he didn't like it here. A month later, he was coming back because I gave him the highest paid contract of a specialist in pro football. No, these things happen, that's a part of our lives, I read about marriage breakups, all those things."

Contributing: The Associated Press
Oakland Tribune

Photo caption/credit:
Al Davis listens to reporters
during a Jan. 18 news conference.
By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Updated: 01-20-2011


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