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Raiders' Davis fires Kiffin

ALAMEDA, Calif. — When Al Davis finally broke his silence about Lane Kiffin on the day he fired his coach, he had plenty to say in response to the verbal attack Kiffin had been launching at the organization for months.

Davis detailed acts of what he called insubordination by Kiffin, read a warning letter he gave his coach more than two weeks ago (see excerpts at right) and said he made the decision to fire Kiffin on Tuesday because the coach was "a flat-out liar."

"I just couldn't go on much longer with what I would call the propaganda, the lying that had been going on for weeks and months and a year and time," Davis said in his first news conference in nearly 14 months.

"It hurts because I picked the guy," Davis said. "I picked the wrong guy."

The Raiders promoted offensive line coach Tom Cable to interim head coach.

"This is in many ways a strange day," Cable said. "I have a friend who lost a job."

Kiffin, son of Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, was 5-15 since being hired last year, losing his final game 28-18 on Sunday to San Diego.

During a 90-minute news conference, Davis also denied a report that Kiffin was sent a resignation letter in the past but refused to sign it.

Kiffin, who is expected to have a news conference today, appeared on ESPNEWS a few hours later. He said he watched most of Davis' news conference.

"It was very painful for myself and my family," Kiffin said. "(There were) a lot of accusations being made there, a lot of information being put up there, a number of lies."

The Raiders say the move was made for cause, meaning they will likely try not to pay Kiffin the remainder of his salary.

In the letter Davis sent to Kiffin last month, the Raiders' owner said, "I know that you wanted to bring your father in to run the defense and that Monte told me that he wanted to come here even though he as (sic) under contract to Tampa. However, I did not want to tamper with another team."

Kiffin, 33, was fired at exactly the same point — after one season plus four games of a second — as the Raiders jettisoned Mike Shanahan in 1989. Shanahan has gone on to win 133 games and two Super Bowls with Denver.

"Obviously, everybody knew it was going to happen," said cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who joined the team this season. "…Maybe it's a good thing that the team gets all this hoopla and media circus out of the locker room so we can focus on winning games for Al Davis."

BENGALS: The team signed running back Cedric Benson, who was released by the Bears after two alcohol-related arrests.

BRONCOS: Receiver Clifford Russell (strained neck) went on injured reserve and free-agent receiver Glenn Martinez signed.

GIANTS: The New York Daily News reported that the league is investigating two domestic disputes in the summer involving Plaxico Burress in which police were called. The receiver is serving a two-week team suspension for not showing up for work Sept. 22. … Backup running back Danny Ware was arrested and charged with an alcohol offense while walking in the road early Sunday and was released on $500 bond.

RAMS: Quarterback Marc Bulger got his starting job back, the biggest development of new coach Jim Haslett's first full day in charge. Bulger, benched in favor of Trent Green last week, declined to torch former coach Scott Linehan, who was fired Monday. Bulger wouldn't say whether he approved of the change and chuckled before saying, "I'm smarter than that one."

RAVENS: Running back Willis McGahee injured his ribs Monday and his status for the game against Tennessee is unclear.

STEELERS: Running back Rashard Mendenhall (fractured right shoulder), who himself was subbing for the injured Willie Parker, is out for the season, as is right guard Kendall Simmons (ruptured Achilles' tendon).

TITANS: A preliminary hearing on a drunk-driving charge for former Florida star Jevon Kearse was continued until Jan. 6.

MANDARICH ADMITS STEROID USE: Former draft bust Tony Mandarich says he used steroids at Michigan State and faked a drug test before the 1988 Rose Bowl. He also said in an interview on Inside the NFL that airs tonight on Showtime that he didn't use steroids in the NFL but was addicted to alcohol and painkillers.

OBITUARY: Milt Davis, an All-Pro defensive back for the Colts who twice led the league in interceptions, died Monday of cancer at his home in Elmira, Ore. He was 79.

>>DAVIS' LETTER

Dearest Lane:

Excerpts from a letter Raiders owner Al Davis said he sent to Lane Kiffin Sept. 12, two days before the team's Week 2 win at Kansas City:

Over the past months, you have made a number of public statements that were highly critical of, and designed to embarrass and discredit, this organization.

…Your actions are those of a coach looking to makes (sic) excuses for not winning, rather than a coach focused on winning.

…I do realize that you did not want us to draft (quarterback) JaMarcus Russell. He is a great player. Get over it and coach this team on the field, that is what you were hired to do. We can win with this team!

Raiders' Davis fires Kiffin 10/01/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 2, 2008 10:43am]

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