Like it or not, but Jack Del Rio was just a placeholder until Raiders owner Mark Davis got the guy he wanted.
It took a few years and many tries, but Davis finally got Jon Gruden to leave the TV booth following the 2017 season.
Davis fired Del Rio after the Raiders finished 6-10 in his third season, despite rewarding the coach with a new four-year contract the year prior.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Del Rio spoke about how often he heard from Davis regarding the pursuit of Gruden.
Spoiler alert: Del Rio heard about it A LOT.
“He was always very straightforward with the fact that he was in love with Jon, and if he had the chance, he was going to hire him,” Del Rio told SI's Jenny Vrentas and Greg Bishop. “He said it every chance he got.”
Del Rio led the Raiders to a 25-23 record over three seasons, but hasn't coached since Davis fired him.
When Davis got Gruden to agree to re-take the Raiders job, he gave the coach a 10-year contract worth $100 million.
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Davis got what he wanted with Gruden's return, but it came at the expense of Del Rio -- someone who grew up a Raiders fan in the East Bay.
It was a brutal way for Del Rio's tenure to end, and we're sure it still stings to this day.
Before the Raiders traded Amari Cooper to them last week, the Dallas Cowboys reportedly had some calls to make on the wide receiver.
The Cowboys wanted to ensure Cooper was worth sending a first-round draft pick to Oakland for, and all reports came back with glowing reviews, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday, citing sources.
According to Schefter, the Cowboys' front office called former Raiders coach Jack Del Rio, Alabama coach Nick Saban and Cowboys fullback Jamize Olawale -- who played with Cooper on the Raiders for three seasons -- among others.
Del Rio coached Cooper for three seasons in Oakland, from 2015 through 2017. Cooper was a two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver for Del Rio and totaled 2,903 receiving yards with 18 touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons.
Saban coached Cooper for three years at Alabama, where the receiver was a star before being the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Cooper had 3,463 receiving yards and 31 touchdowns in his three seasons in college, was a Consensus All-American in his junior year and won the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in college.
Following another run-in with the law over the weekend, Aldon Smith was released by the Raiders Monday, and his former head coach chimed in a short time later.
Jack Del Rio made it known during his tenure as the Raiders head coach that he wished the league would allow teams to help troubled players more than they currently do.
On Monday, Del Rio reinterated that on Twitter.
Smith checked himself into rehab following an alleged domestic violence incident, his fiancee told TMZ Sports on Monday. A few hours later, the Raiders severed ties with the former first-round pick.
Last March, after Smith's reinstatement application wasn't ruled on by Roger Goodell, Del Rio stated his desire for the league to allow the Raiders to offer support.
“It’s a little bit frustrating to not be able to be a part of the process,” Del Rio said. “My feel is that I could help him, but the experts know. The experts don’t allow that. We have to follow the rules. It does get frustrating to not be able to help a young man and provide support and provide structure. Somebody else has to make those decisions. It’s just out of my hands.”