Raiders Have 2nd Interview With Ex-GM They Helped Get Fired

Mark Davis is continuing the Raiders GM search.

Getty Mark Davis is continuing the Raiders GM search.

The Las Vegas Raiders may have made their move on Antonio Pierce, but there’s still a very important chair that has been left empty: That of general manager.

Champ Kelly, who came on as the interim in place of Dave Ziegler after the Raiders fired Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels at the end of October, is still in the running for the job, as well as Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds. On Monday, too, the Raiders conducted a second interview with former Chargers general manager Tom Telesco.

That came from Vic Tafur of The Athletic, who posted on Twitter/X, “Former Chargers GM Tom Telesco is in Las Vegas for a second interview for the Raiders GM job.”

NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo added some context to Tafur’s report, pointing out that the GM job is now a three-man race, and that a decision should be made by team owner Mark Davis in the next few days.

“#Raiders interim GM Champ Kelly, #Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds and former #Chargers GM Tom Telesco remain in the mix for Vegas’ opening. Sounds like today’s interview will wrap up the second round so a decision is expected soon,” Garafolo wrote.

Raiders Blowout Sealed Tom Telesco’s Fate

There would be some odd symmetry to the potential hiring of Telesco by the Raiders, because it was the devastating 63-21 Thursday Night Football loss at the hands of the Raiders that caused Telesco’s previous employer, the Chargers, to fire both Telesco and head coach Brandon Staley. The Raiders would be hiring a guy they got fired.

Indeed, Telesco would be an odd choice in general for the Raiders because he did not exactly put together a track record of excellence in Los Angeles. Telesco took over the Chargers back when they were in San Diego in 2013, and in 11 seasons, his teams compiled a record of 84-95. The Chargers made just three playoff appearances in his time running the franchise.

While the Chargers had a history of compiling very good rosters, they have often lacked chemistry and toughness. Staley was the third coach Telesco hired with the Chargers, having been brought on because of his defensive reputation forged during his time with the Rams.

But the Chargers ranked 24th in points allowed this season (398) and 28th in yardage allowed (6,170). In a report on why Telesco was fired, ESPN’s Kris Rhim noted, “Ultimately, Telesco’s firing appears to have come down to his body of work. He was general manager for 11 seasons, hired three head coaches and had two playoff wins. Telesco had a decade to make the Chargers a winner and failed. His time had simply run out.”

Support for Champ Kelly

It will be interesting to see how Davis proceeds with filling the general manager’s role. Keeping Champ Kelly in place would provide for some stability, but it would also leave the Raiders with a first-time coach in Pierce and a first-time GM. That’s why Telesco could be the favorite for the job.

But while player support for Pierce was louder than support for Kelly, it is clear that the Raiders in the locker room want Kelly back, too. Star end Maxx Crosby was vocal in his support of both.

As he told NFL Media last month, “I have been very honest, and I have been very open about it. I love those guys. AP and Champ, I’ve been close with them ever since they been here. Before they got the jobs now. Selfishly, I want them to continue to be the head coach and GM. I’ve been very honest with them. I told Mark Davis the same thing.”

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