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Dennis Allen is the leading candidate in Oakland

Raiders Coachiong Search Football

FILE - This Dec. 4, 2011 file photo shows Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen before an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011, in Minneapolis. The Oakland Raiders have requested permission to interview Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy for their open head coach job. A person familiar with the request confirmed a report by ESPN that the Raiders were going to interview McCoy. ESPN also reported that Oakland requested to interview Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen for the job. (AP Photo/Genevieve Ross, File)


Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is the leading candidate to become the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen report that the Raiders have identified Allen as their top choice, although there are still some “final steps” that need to be taken care of before they can come to an agreement.

The news comes as something of a surprise because Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie has made clear from the beginning that he wants to bring in his own candidate, and McKenzie has no ties with Allen. It was widely reported when McKenzie fired Hue Jackson that Packers assistant head coach and linebackers coach Winston Moss, who had a good working relationship with McKenzie in Green Bay, was the leading candidate in Oakland. But that no longer appears to be the case.

The Raiders have already told other candidates, including Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice, that they are no longer in consideration.

The 39-year-old Allen was a starting defensive back at Texas A&M in the 1990s but never got further than a training-camp appearance with the Bills in the NFL. His coaching career began as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M, and he then moved on to Tulsa before getting stints as an assistant with the Falcons and Saints. John Fox hired him in Denver a year ago.

Allen would be the first head coach with a defensive background the Raiders have hired since John Madden.