Raiders fire Del Rio amid Gruden links
In a move no-one would have predicted before this season, Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio announced following Sunday's 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers that team owner Mark Davis had fired him.
Sunday's loss to the Chargers dropped the Raiders to a disappointing 6-10 record this season.
There had been high hopes in Oakland after the team went 12-4 in 2016 to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002. That success led to Davis giving Del Rio a four-year contract extension earlier this year.
Del Rio's firing comes one day after ESPN reported the Raiders were pursuing former NFL coach and current ESPN broadcaster Jon Gruden as their coach and were offering an ownership stake to entice him.
Gruden coached the Raiders from 1998 through 2001, posting a 38-26 mark. He went on to lead the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl championship in 2002, beating the Raiders in the title game. Gruden was 95-81 in six seasons in Tampa Bay.
"I don't want to sit here and speculate. ... There is no news to report," Gruden said Saturday. "I can't say I haven't taken any phone calls. I take a lot every year from coaches, some others. ... Yeah, sometimes owners. Guys want to bounce ideas off me. I'm here to help people."
Del Rio's ouster will only further fuel those Gruden-to-Oakland rumours.
Del Rio posted a 25-23 mark in three seasons with the Raiders.