Raiders get permission to interview Saunders
ALAMEDA – New Oakland Raiders’ coach Hue Jackson has started the process of putting together his new staff, getting permission to talk to Baltimore assistant Al Saunders about filling the offensive coordinator vacancy.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday that the team allowed Saunders to talk to the Raiders because he would never want to deny a coach an opportunity.
“We’ll just have to see what happens,” Harbaugh said. “Obviously you never want to lose really good coaches. Al Saunders is a great coach and a great man. He’s tremendous and he’s been huge for us.”
Saunders has been an offensive consultant for Baltimore the past two seasons, working on the staff with Jackson in 2009. Jackson went to Oakland last year as offensive coordinator and was promoted to head coach in place of Tom Cable earlier this week.
Jackson said Tuesday at his introductory news conference that he will remain the primary play-caller in Oakland as head coach. He mentioned Saunders as someone he would like to interview for the coordinator job. Saunders has interviewed in the past for head coach and coordinator jobs in Oakland.
Saunders has been a coach for nearly three decades in the NFL. He went 17-22 in two-plus seasons as head coach for the San Diego Chargers from 1986-88 and has spent most of his career as a respected offensive assistant.
He spent eight seasons running offenses in Kansas City, Washington and St. Louis. He spent two years with current Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell with the Redskins.
The offensive coordinator job is just one of many the Raiders need to fill. The only assistants still under contract are defensive line coach Mike Waufle and defensive backs coach Kevin Ross. Defensive coordinator John Marshall will not be back next season, although some of the other assistants could still be retained.
– AP sportswriter David Ginsburg in Owings Mills, Md., contributed to this report.