No word yet on Raiders new head coach

Tim Brown has voiced his support for Art Shell. Barry Sims likes the idea of Bill Callahan getting the job. But the man who holds the cards, Raiders owner Al Davis, isn't saying whom he favors to become his next head coach.

As the Raiders moved into Day 2 of Year 1 A.G. (After Gruden) there remained no clear front-runner for the NFL's only current vacant head coaching job. While Jon Gruden, the man who had personally breathed life back into what was a moribund franchise while leading Oakland to two consecutive AFC West titles, was across the country being introduced as the new head coach of Tampa Bay, his former employers in the East Bay were hastily scribbling a list of potential candidates to be Gruden's successor with the Raiders. The only name that is known for sure to be on that list is Callahan, Oakland's offensive line coach who also carried the title of assistant head coach last season while assisting Gruden with the play-calling on offense. In his Monday afternoon press conference announcing the trade of Gruden to the Bucs for four draft picks and $8 million, Davis affirmed that Callahan would be considered for the coaching vacancy. ''He's a candidate,'' Davis said. Beyond that, however, there has been no concrete word on anyone else being looked at by the Raiders, though speculation has centered on several high profile names. Long-time Davis associate Bill Parcells is among them, though it's an unlikely match-up considering Parcells has a smash-mouth philosophy whereas the Raiders current team has been built more for the West Coast style of offense. Shell, who has already served one stint as the Raiders head coach, is also a consideration but just how serious remains in question. In the past Davis has said he regretted firing Shell following the 1994 season, a move that at the time was widely unpopular in the locker room. Brown, a constant backer of Shell, voiced his support for the Hall of Famer during a radio interview Tuesday afternoon. Dennis Green's name has also been thrown around, but there's virtually no chance of that happening. Sources close to Davis have said the Raiders owner respects Green's coaching ability and considers him a friend but has other personal issues with the former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. In any regard, Green said Davis' insistence that Oakland's current staff of assistant coaches be kept on by the team's new head coach essentially took him out of the running. Saints head coach Jim Haslett is the latest name to crop up but don't read too much into that. Although New Orleans struggled this season, a year ago Haslett was one of the hottest coaching commodities in the league and a Coach of the Year candidate. To get Haslett, Davis would have to relinquish some of the draft picks he picked up in the Gruden trade to Tampa Bay; don't count on it. Davis and Raiders senior assistant Bruce Allen have reportedly compiled a list of other potential candidates that includes current NFL assistants and college coaches. Replacing Gruden will be no easy task for whomever the Raiders select. His fierce competitiveness kept the players on their toes each and every day of practice, from the March mini-camps on through to training camp, the regular season and into the playoffs. Matching Gruden's intensity, which to a player the Raiders say they fed and thrived off of, may in fact be almost impossible. That's why Davis, knowing this and knowing he still has a team that played in the AFC title game in 2000 and a blown call away from being there in 2001, needs to be precise when making his selection. ''We want to win,'' Davis said Monday. ''We want to do what's right, we want to do what's going to be great for the fans, coaches and the players.''

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