This season the Jets have a new offensive coordinator. His name is John Morton. This is his first job as an NFL offensive coordinator and in his second game on the job, he returns to Oakland, where his career began. The place where Al Davis gave him his start and showed him that ‘Once a Raider, always a Raider’ isn’t just a clever turn of phrase.
“Listen, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now if it wasn’t for Al Davis,” Morton said Thursday. “He’s the one that got me started. There’s a lot of love/hate guys out there and he’s the one that gave me a job.”
Morton never played an NFL regular season game. A wide receiver out of Western Michigan, he came into the NFL with the Raiders in 1993. From there he spent time on the Packers practice squad before returning to the Raiders in 1994, spending two seasons on the Raiders’ practice squad with a stint with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL in between.
After practices, Morton said he and Al Davis would talk football. An experience that any football mind would probably have loved to have. The mere fact that Davis was having those conversations with him, suggests Morton probably knew his stuff.
“He would bring me over and we would always talk football,” Morton continued. “I was a football junkie. And he told me, he said ‘When you stop playing, give me a call’ and that’s what I did. I gave him a call and he gave me a job.
“I was just his little gopher for one year, making cutups for him and then Jon Gruden got hired and Jon Gruden [and I] had a relationship because I was in Green Bay and he was my receiver coach, so that’s how that started.”
When Gruden was traded to Tampa Bay prior to the 2002 season, Morton was officially named an offensive assistant, a position he held for three seasons in Oakland. He later held the same position for Saints before being hired on at USC as wide receivers coach and later offensive coordinator.
Morton returned to the Bay Area as the wide receivers coach for the 49ers for four seasons and the past two seasons with the Saints, before finally getting the call to be an NFL offensive coordinator under Todd Bowles in New York — 20 years from when Al Davis gave him his first job.
“I wouldn’t be sitting here right now if it wasn’t for Al Davis,” Morton reiterated. “I owe him everything and I can’t wait to go to the black hole and listen to that AC/DC music. That gives me goosebumps, man. You guys, you can’t tell me you don’t get goosebumps, man, when you hear that music.”
This will be just his second trip to Oakland Coliseum as an opposing coach. His other trip was 2014 as wide receivers coach with the 49ers.
You can see the video here. His comments on Al Davis start at about the 7-minute mark.