Monday the Raiders officially announced they had fired General Manager Reggie McKenzie. Typically along with such an announcement, there is a statement from Mark Davis. After all, he hand picked McKenzie as the GM following the death of his father and McKenzie is in his 7th year with the organization. And yet this time, there was nothing from Davis.
Following some general well wishes from the organization, there was was this statement:
“The Raiders will immediately begin a search for a new front office executive and will have no further comment until that process is complete.”
We may hear from Davis in the near future, but the silence from him in the press release is deafening. There’s no excuse aside from some potential bad blood that would explain the lack of a few kind words for the man who steered the Raiders ship for the past seven years.
Jon Gruden extended his regards to McKenzie at his Monday press conference.
“I’d just like to wish Reggie McKenzie the best,” said Gruden. “He’s a good friend of mine. He’s always going to be a Raider. We’re going to have to rebuild this football team without him, but I will assure the Raider fans that we’ll do everything we can to find the right replacement. He left some big shoes to fill and I just want to wish him the best.”
Gruden insists the firing was made without his knowledge, which, if he’s being forthcoming, suggests it was Mark Davis’s decision to make the move at this time, saying that after the win over the Steelers Sunday, he went home unaware anything was happening.
“I went home, and obviously there was a meeting last night and changes have been made,” Gruden said of McKenzie’s firing.
“I really didn’t have a sense of it. . . this was all somewhat surprising. There has been a lot of speculation and a lot of rumor coming out of here since early in the season. You don’t know what’s real, what’s smoke, what’s fire, you really don’t. But we have made a change and we have to respond and that we will.”
It’s a little bit hard to believe Gruden was completely blindsided by this. But even with the expectations McKenzie would be out and the reports of it in the past couple days, it’s still strange that it couldn’t happen without mystery and the suspicion of some ill will involving the owner.