McKenzie says new coach could be hired 'soon'

January 23, 2012, 4:25 pm
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MOBILE, Ala. -- Reggie McKenzie has been a relative man of mystery since his introductory media conference as the Raiders' new general manager on Jan. 10."That's just the way I like it," he said with a huge grin after getting off his connecting flight here Monday morning.
Indeed, McKenzie has made no public comments since that day, when he relieved Hue Jackson of his coaching duties and embarked upon a coaching search that has been linked to the likes of former Miami interim coach Todd Bowles, Denver defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, Green Bay assistant head coachinside linebackers Winston Moss, Philadelphia offensive coordinator Marty Mornhingweg and Chicago offensive coordinator Mike Tice.But McKenzie was easy to spot on the plane, sporting Raiders gear from head to toe, from his Raiders cap to his Raiders polo shirt to his sweat pants emblazoned with the Raiders logo.The first true Raiders G.M. hired since Al Davis in 1963 has his plate full and he will be joined by eight scouts, he said, here during Senior Bowl week to go through the paces. In fact, McKenzie turned his nose up at a report that said his interview with Moss last week did not go well."That's far from the truth," McKenzie said.Following then, a brief Q&A with McKenzie at the Mobile airport at the dawn of Senior Bowl weekPaul Gutierrez: How would you describe the past two weeks and everything you've been doing since you've become G.M.?
Reggie McKenzie: Lot of work, lot of fun, you know? New job. It's a dream job, so lots of things to do to get started.PG: Have you spent much time in Alameda, or have you been on the road non-stop?
RM: Everything (laughs). I work in the in the office and been away a lot.PG: Thoughts on these playoffs so far, had to tug at your heart at least a little to see the Packers lose right away?
RM: Yeah, yeah, that was disappointing but that's usually what happens -- the hot team usually keeps rolling. That's what happened with the Giants. They're rolling. Same with New England, really.PG: What are your plans as the Raiders General Manager here at the Senior Bowl this week, what do you hope to get accomplished, what are some of the things on your checklist while you're here?
RM: Well, you know, the normal. Meet and greet with the players, see what they look like, kind of get an idea who's what. Coach meetings. It's kind of different, being the G.M. (smiles broadly). And trying to finalize a coach, you know?PG: And that's the next question, obviously: where is that process right now? A lot of names out there and I know you said you wanted your "guy" and that you had a short list but didn't want to say who was on it until you had to
RM: And I'm going to keep it like that (laughs). You'll know soon enough. Soon enough.RELATED: Philbin hire puts pressure on Raiders
PG: Is this something that could happen this week?
RM: Yeah. Yeah. It could happen. It could happen by Saturday.PG: A lot of names out there so far -- Bowles, Moss, Allen, Mornhingweg. But let me throw another name out at youJon Gruden?
RM: (Smiles and pauses for seven seconds) I'm going to just laugh. You can put 'giggle.' (Laughs again).RELATED: Moss interview would not have broken NFL rules
PG: Have you made any hires yet, staff, coaches, scouts?
RM: No. Our purpose first is to evaluate what we have, and I'm not in a hurry to hire and fire, at all.PG: What about the assistant coaches that are currently under contract?
RM: That's going to be up to the new coach.PG: So then the guys that are still under contract technically are still working until the new coach comes in?
RM: Yeah.PG: So then they're kind of in, I don't know if limbo is the right word?
RM: Yeah, well, you know, but they're in kind of an interview mode, I would say.PG: And the coaches no longer under contract?
RM: They're free to interview. The (new) coach could interview those guys, too. We're keeping all the doors open for the new coach.