The Oakland Raiders fired Jack Del Rio as coach Sunday after the team’s season-ending 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, The Oakland Tribune reported.
Speculation immediately focused on ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, who coached the team from 1998 to 2001, as the Raiders’ next coach.
Del Rio, who went 7-9, 12-4 and 6-10 in his three years as Raiders coach, said team owner Mark Davis broke the news to him after Sunday’s game.
“I spoke to Mark Davis after the game and Mark let me know that he’s not going to be bringing me back,” Del Rio said. “He told me he loved me and appreciated all that I did to kind of get this program going in the right direction, but that he felt the need to change.”
Del Rio signed a three-year contract extension following last year’s playoff season.
On Saturday night, ESPN reported that Davis was prepared to pursue Gruden with a strong offer that could include an ownership stake in the team.
A contract including an ownership stake would have to be approved by NFL owners.
Gruden reacted with a chuckle when asked about the report.
“C’mon man, I’m out with my wife. This is crazy,” Gruden told the Tribune in a telephone interview. “I was supposed to be going to Tampa last week. What have they got? I don’t know.
“I’ve got nothing to report. I’m at an Outback Bowl event with my wife.”