OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The Oakland Raiders fired head coach Jack Del Rio Sunday after the team’s 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers capped a disappointing 6-10 season.
Raiders owner Mark Davis reportedly told Del Rio he was being fired as the two left the field Sunday.
At a news conference following the game, Del Rio called the firing a “microcosm” of a season in which the Raiders were expected to contend for the Super Bowl but were a disappointment on the field.
“It’s a microcosm of our year,” he said. “Opportunities, lack of production, we were not good enough. That’s what our year was — disappointing.”
Del Rio said Davis told him he appreciated everything that he had done, but it was time for a change.
“He (Davis) felt the need to change,” Del Rio said. “I told him how much I appreciated the opportunity he had given me. I mean that, I’m very grateful. This was my childhood team, but I realize this is a results business.”
He said he felt like he and his coaching staff had developed a solid base for the Raiders, who were 12-4 last year but lost in the AFC playoffs with injured quarterback Derek Carr looking on from the sidelines.
Del Rio, who grew up in Hayward, has often called coaching the Raiders his dream job. But as disappointing losses mounted this year so it did pressure on Del Rio and his coaching staff. Several weeks ago, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. was fired.
The Raiders defense became the first in NFL history to fail to record on interception in the first 10 games of the season and generated only 14 takeaways all season compared to 30 in 2016.
Del Rio’s firing came as rumors swirled involving Davis’ desire to rehire former head coach John Gruden, who currently is a television analyst.
Gruden was traded by the Raiders to Tampa Bay following the 2001 season and beat Oakland for the Super Bowl title the following season. He was fired by the Buccaneers following the 2008 season and has been in the broadcast booth since then. ESPN reported Saturday that the Raiders were interested in bringing Gruden back.
In a press release, Davis thanked Del Rio for his work with the team.
“We appreciate Jack’s effort in building the foundation of this team for the future,” Davis said. “Thank you to Jack, his wife, Linda, and his daughter, Aubrey, for their important contributions to the Raiders and our local community in Oakland. We wish them all the best.”
Carr was stunned by the firing.
“It hurts,” he said. “It’s a sucky thing…I met with Coach Del Rio every Thursday since he’s been here…A bond is created…It hurts… We weren’t good enough for him… We have to take ownership of it as players… We are upset with ourselves.”
Defensive back Shawn Smith echoed Carr’s sentiments.
“He played the game — he’s a player’s coach,” he said. “You like those kinds of coaches because you can relate to them easily. It sucks because he’s a coach, he can’t be out there. As a player, we didn’t play up to our expectations and then he had to pay the price.”
Del Rio was named head coach in January 2015 and posted a 25-23 mark in three seasons.
He took over a three-win team in 2015 and immediately changed the culture and helped Oakland win seven games that season. The Raiders had a breakthrough season in 2016 with 12 wins but it ended in disappointment when a broken leg for quarterback Derek Carr in Week 16 cost the Raiders a chance at a division title and led to a first-round playoff loss.