Is Kiffin out in Oakland?

Could Lane Kiffin be on his way out in Oakland? That's apparently the case, according to a published report on Pro Football Weekly's website, which credit's a reliable NFL source as saying the Raiders and their first-year head coach are working on an exit strategy to release Kiffin from his contract.

The report, which surfaced earlier this week, said that team owner Al Davis is apparently miffed that Kiffin tried to make himself available for coaching vacancies at Arkansas and Michigan. While Kiffin steadfastly denied he was interested in either job, the PFW report cites credible sources at Michigan and within the Raiders' organization who confirmed the head coach indeed had shown interest in both jobs.

Coupled with Kiffin and Davis being at odds over the coaching future of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, whose job was thought to be in jeopardy at the end of the season before Davis stepped in, it looks increasingly like Kiffin's stay in Oakland could be a short one.

So far, however, no one is saying anything publicly.

Attempts to reach both the Raiders and Kiffin were unsuccessful Monday and Tuesday. Kiffin and his staff have been appointed coach of the North for the Senior Bowl, scheduled for Jan. 26.

If Kiffin is let go, the logical choice to replace him would be, ironically, Ryan. Ryan interviewed for the Raiders' head coaching job last year before Kiffin was hired and has been popular with his players in the past.

Ryan lost some of that support in the team's locker room during the season but he's still held in high regard by Davis, a fact that was proven out when the Raiders' owner reportedly told Kiffin he wouldn't fire Ryan, who has a year left on his contract. Kiffin, the youngest head coach in the NFL, had wanted to bring in his own defensive coordinator but was rebuffed by Davis. The Raiders went so far as to send out a statement calling for a halt to speculation that Ryan would be fired.

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