Ex-Packer Lofton may coach Raiders

Pro Football Hall of Famer James Lofton, the holder of a few Packers records, is a finalist to be head coach of the Oakland Raiders. PackerReport.com's Steve Lawrence also provides an update on ex-Packers coach Mike Sherman.

James Lofton, a Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver who spent his best seasons running through NFL secondaries while a member of the Green Bay Packers, is a top candidate to replace Art Shell as head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

Lofton, who interviewed for the job on Tuesday, told the Contra Costa Times later in the day that he almost beat out Shell to get the job last year.

"What people don't know and what wasn't reported last year was, I was the runner-up," said Lofton, who also interviewed for the Buffalo Bills' job last year and was a finalist for the Stanford job that went to Jim Harbaugh last month. "So, we'll see."

Lofton, the Packers' first-round draft pick in 1978, spent the last five years as the wide receivers coach for the San Diego Chargers.

Raiders owner Al Davis has interviewed three others: the Raiders' popular defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, Southern California assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach Steve Sarkisian, and former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel.

"We're just working some things out," Lofton said of his dealings with Davis and other Raiders executives. "Things are going pretty well."

Lofton spent his first nine seasons with the Packers, earning trips to the Pro Bowl following the 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986 seasons.

He then spent two years with the Los Angeles Raiders and four years with the Buffalo Bills, a run that included a Pro Bowl spot in 1992. His final season, 1993, was spent with the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles.

When he retired, he was the NFL's career leader with 14,004 receiving yards.

When he left Green Bay, Lofton led the Packers for career receptions (530), receiving yards (9,616), receiving yards in a season (1,361 in 1984) and most 100-yard games (32). He remains the leader in receiving yards and 100-yard games, is No. 2 in receptions behind Sterling Sharpe, and is sixth in receiving yards in a season.

Lofton was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

Sherman update
If Lofton gets the Oakland job, the only remaining NFL coaching possibility for former Packers coach Mike Sherman is Pittsburgh.

The Steelers are down to their list of three final candidates. Sherman is not among them and wasn't interviewed, even though the Steelers obtained permission from the Houston Texans to interview Sherman.

Sherman was considered the front-runner to get the Arizona job, but reportedly priced himself out of the hunt with "an asking price of $4 million a season," according to Fox's John Czarnecki.

Sherman has not been linked strongly to the Miami opening. That's bad news for the Packers, who will have to pay Sherman $2.8 million next season (the Texans are paying him $400,000 to be an assistant, which is subtracted from the $3.2 million the Packers owe him).


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