McKenzie an ultimate Raiders insider

January 11, 2012, 12:58 am
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ALAMEDA -- The knee-jerk reaction is that new Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is an outsider, intent on a scorched-Silver and Blackdom policy after his firing of Hue Jackson on McKenzie's first day on the job.But that would be too easy.Actually, McKenzie is the ultimate Raiders insider, while it was Jackson who was the outsider.A quick look at McKenzie's bio shows that he played four seasons with the Raiders after they drafted him in the 10th round of the 1984 draft and started his first 32 games as a pro in Silver and Black. But the roots go deeper than that. For even as he began his career on the personnel side of things in Green Bay in 1994, McKenzie was a learning at the foot of Ron Wolf, who many credit as the true creator of the Raiders' three Super Bowl championship teams.And if you still thought McKenzie was a carpetbagger, check out the list of former teammates that surprised him by greeting him at the Raiders facility on Tuesday.There was Cliff Branch, sitting next to Rod Martin. Jeff Barnes nodded on agreement on every other McKenzie statement. Jerry Robinson, who was McKenzie's roommates, had a prime seat, as did Greg Townsend."I'm happy about it," Martin said. "He's talked about the old school and he's from the old school so he understands how the game is supposed to be played. And I think he's going to be going out there aggressively, getting the right personnel to come in here and make this turn around. Get back to the old school way of playing football, taking no prisonerskill 'em all."Martin laughed. And Branch smiled when asked if it actually felt like a reunion, of sorts."Yes, I played two years with Reggie and he was there when we had just finished our championship season, Super Bowl season, and with all the success he had with Green Bay, he knows what it takes," Branch said. "I think it's an excellent move."Obviously, so too did Mark Davis, who referred to the entire organization as his family."It's a bonus, is what it is," Davis said of McKenzie being a former Raiders player. "Because he does know about the organization and has a feel for it."