Herm Edwards has a message for Las Vegas Raiders’ owner Mark Davis.
“Tell Mark, he’s got the right guy,” Edwards said in a recent telephone interview with Silver and Black Pride. “Antonio is the guy for the job.”
Whether Davis eventually hires Pierce, the current interim head coach of the Raiders, as the full-time head coach going into the 2024 NFL season remains to be seen. But it’s clear Pierce (who is 2-0 as the Raiders’ interim head coach) has a lot of people in his corner and that certainly includes Edwards.
“He was always a smart, energetic player,” Edwards said of Pierce. “That translated to the coaching side of it.”
The two forged a close relationship while there were both television analysts last decade at ESPN. When Edwards was hired as the head coach at Arizona State going into 2018 he said Pierce was one of the first people he hired as an assistant.
Pierce, 45, spent 2018-19 as the Sun Devils’ linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator. Edwards wanted to lean into Pierce’s experience as a high school coach at Long Beach Poly from 2014-17 and playing experience in NFL.
After Pierce was successful in his initial roles and at Arizona State, Edwards added the associate head coach and defensive coordinator roles to his job. So, Pierce, who was hired by former head coach Josh McDaniels as the Raiders’ linebackers coach in 2022, carried a huge role for Edwards.
“He was excellent,” Edwards said. “He is a workaholic who is constantly searching for information to get better. Now, he’s in an unique situation and handling just as I thought he would.”
The two have been in communication since Pierce took over for the fired McDaniels. Edwards says no matter what happens in the future, he thinks Pierce is the perfect person for his current role.
“They could have hired any number of people on that staff, but Antonio was picked for a reason,” Edwards said. “He just connects with the players. He tells it like it is and the players want that. You can tell it’s a good fit and I hope he has a chance to stay for the future.”