OAKLAND — The Oakland Raiders have landed their new personnel man, who faces the daunting task of helping fill the void left by late owner Al Davis.
The Raiders said Friday they have reached an agreement with Green Bay Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie to become their new general manager. They scheduled a news conference for Tuesday to introduce McKenzie, who will fulfill many of the duties handled by iconic owner Davis until his Oct. 8 death at age 82.
One of McKenzie’s first orders of business likely will be sitting down with coach Hue Jackson, who handled many personnel decisions in recent months. Jackson, who just completed his first season as head coach after being elevated from offensive coordinator, pulled off the highly debated October trade for quarterback Carson Palmer after starter Jason Campbell broke his collarbone.
The 48-year-old McKenzie will take over his new job with the Raiders immediately, a person with knowledge of the hiring told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because those details weren’t formally announced. That means McKenzie will leave the defending Super Bowl champion Packers (15-1) before they open defense of their title. The NFC’s No. 1 seed is off this weekend with a first-round playoff bye.
“I would like to thank Reggie McKenzie for all that he has done for the Green Bay Packers over the last 18 years,” Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson said in a statement. “Reggie is a tremendous talent, but more importantly, he is a good friend and great family man. His contributions to our organization are numerous and he is ready for the opportunity to be a general manager in the National Football League. It’s been a privilege to work with Reggie, he is a good man.”
ESPN first reported the deal. Oakland has gone without someone in a true GM role since Davis’ longtime senior assistant, Bruce Allen, departed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2003 season. Allen had been a top personnel executive for Davis from 1996-2003. Davis’ son, Mark, is now making many top decisions.
Oakland went 8-8 this season after a promising 7-4 start, ending its playoff chances by losing four of the final five games — including a 38-26 home loss last Sunday to San Diego with a playoff berth still within reach. The Raiders have missed the postseason for the last nine years since losing in the Super Bowl after the 2002 season.
Davis loved to bring back former Raiders to the silver and black, and McKenzie fits the bill. He played linebacker for the Raiders from 1985-88 and joined the Packers as a pro personnel assistant in 1994. He became the director of football operations on May 27, 2008, and also previously worked in the role of director of pro personnel.
A 10th-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Raiders out of Tennessee in 1985, McKenzie played the first four of his six NFL seasons with the Raiders.
“I’m just looking in through the keyhole right now, so all I really know is that he was very sought after from what I’ve gathered and read,” said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who has worked for the Raiders.
For the Packers, losing McKenzie is a double whammy.
Earlier Friday, Green Bay announced that Vice President Jason Wied had resigned from the team’s front office because of health issues.
Wied, the vice president of administration/general counsel, took an indefinite leave of absence from the organization in November. In a statement issued Friday by the Packers, Wied said he has been dealing with sleep apnea and insomnia and developed a dependency on one of the herbal remedies he was using.