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NORVAL to the Raiders


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Monday, January 26, 2004

ESPN.com news services

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Norv Turner was hired as the Oakland Raiders' head coach Monday, taking over a team that went from the Super Bowl to 4-12 in just a year.

Turner, 51, will receive a multi-year contract, SI.com is reporting, though terms were not immediately available. The Raiders have called a 5 p.m. ET news conference to introduce him.

Turner leaves Miami after only two seasons as coach Dave Wannstedt's offensive coordinator. Turner flew to Oakland on Thursday to meet with Raiders owner Al Davis and their discussions continued through the weekend. Contrary to published reports, Turner did not return home; he remained in California awaiting an offer from Davis.

In hiring Turner, the Raiders concluded a lengthy and sometimes convoluted search for a successor to Bill Callahan, who was fired at the conclusion of a 4-12 season. Just last Tuesday, Dallas Cowboys assistant head coach Sean Payton agreed in principle to be Oakland's head coach, and then changed his mind a day later.

Callahan has since been hired as Nebraska's head coach.

Davis interviewed Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders by phone early in the search process. He then met with Dennis Green, who accepted the same job with the Arizona Cardinals; San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who went to the Atlanta Falcons in the same capacity; and Payton. Another potential candidate, Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, turned down an interview request, and then was hired as Buffalo Bills coach.

It was generally believed, after the deal with Payton collapsed, that Davis would wait until after Super Bowl XXXVIII to interview the New England's two coordinators, Romeo Crennel (defense) and Charlie Weis (offense). But his meetings with Turner went well and Turner apparently agreed to accept some of the conditions that Davis had laid out for other candidates.

Davis said at a news conference last week that he will take a more personal hand in player discipline. Davis also wanted the other candidates to retain many of Callahan's assistants who are still under contract.

This marks only the second time that Davis has hired a coach with previous NFL head coaching experience. The only other time was in 1997, when he brought aboard Joe Bugel, the former Arizona Cardinals coach. Bugel lasted one season in Oakland.

Turner was head coach of the Washington Redskins between 1994 and 2000 (50-60-1). Turner, however, is well regarded for his expertise on the offensive side of the ball and Davis typically prefers offensive-oriented coaches.

Turner grew up in California, and friends have said he wanted to return there, which likely played into his decision to accept the job. Also, there is speculation that Wannstedt's job might be on the line in 2004, and that his staff may come under scrutiny as well.

The departure of Turner likely means that Wannstedt will elevate running backs coach Joel Collier, who had been given more responsibilities last season, to replace Turner.

Information from ESPN.com senior NFL writer Len Pasquarelli and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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This is too funny. I'm putting the over/under on this debacle at 1.5 seasons.

People I would try hire to be head coach before I turned to Norv Turner:

Jim Fassel

Jim Mora, Sr.

Russ Grimm

Ray Rhodes

Larry Coker

Mike Ditka

Bob Stoops

Steve Spurrier

Ron Zook

Don Shula

Dave Shula

Jim Johnson (Eagles DC)

Jimmy Johnson

Terry Bradshaw

Howie Long

James Brown

James Brown, "Godfather of Soul"

John Madden

Al Michaels

Dennis Miller

Pete Carroll

Norm Chow

Deion Sanders

Mel Kiper

Dan Snyder


Joe Torre

Phil Jackson

Scotty Bowman

Paris Hilton (hey, she dated Brian Urlacher for almost a week)

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