The Oakland Raiders have fired general manager Reggie McKenzie, effective immediately, the team announced Monday.
“We are grateful for everything Reggie has done for this organization as a player, executive and member of the Raider family,” the team said in a statement, adding that the team “will immediately begin a search for a new front office executive and will have no further comment until that process is complete.”
McKenzie, 55, had been the Raiders’ GM since 2012. He was under contract through the 2021 NFL draft as part of a four-year extension signed in 2016.
Many wondered whether McKenzie, the 2016 NFL executive of the year, would still fit in the organizational flow chart when head coach Jon Gruden was hired in January. Both insisted they would work together, and McKenzie recently said his job as general manager was to get Gruden the players he wanted, not necessarily players McKenzie liked.
“I’m not going to sit up here today and talk about any disconnect,” Gruden said. “We were connected. We were very good friends and very connected. I’ll leave it at that.”
Gruden said he went home after beating the Steelers 24-21 on Sunday night and was not part of the meeting in which McKenzie was relieved of his duties.
“Obviously, there was a meeting last night, and changes had been made,” he said. “I respect everything that this organization is about. I can’t exactly answer why the change was made last night, but changes were made, and we’ve got to continue to fight and continue to build this team back, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Asked if it was solely a decision reached by Raiders owner Mark Davis, Gruden said, “We all work for the same man.”
McKenzie, who was the first major hire made by Davis after he took over the team following the death of his father, Al, in 2011, spoke in late October of reports of a rift between him and Gruden, and he called it “comical.”
“You talked about pulling the strings, and you know, Gruden and I, we work together very well,” McKenzie said at the time. “Let’s make no mistakes about it. Him pushing me out, that’s not happening. Me not being able to work with Gruden, that’s furthest from the truth. OK? We work really well together.
“We’re in each other’s offices all the time. Talking about players, who’s up, who’s down, who I would like to see play more. Practice squad guys. About moving this guy. Claiming this guy. Trading. Guys calling me about trading this guy — here’s what I think, what do you think?
“Moving forward, when you talk about the negativity that I hear is between me and Gruden, there’s been times I want to make a statement and say, ‘Really?'”
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SOURCE: ESPN, Paul Gutierrez