Shanahan Weighs In
The looming legal tussle over Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis's contention that he doesn't owe pay to just-fired coach Lane Kiffin is reminiscent of Davis's long dispute with former coach Mike Shanahan over the money that Shanahan said Davis owed him.
Davis fired Shanahan as the Raiders' coach in 1989 four games into Shanahan's second season with the team. Davis contended that he didn't have to pay Shanahan. Shanahan has long contended that he was owed $250,000 by Davis. Shanahan even tried to get Davis to donate the money to Oakland's school system, to no avail.
When Davis fired Kiffin on Tuesday four games into Kiffin's second season with the team, he said the dismissal was "with cause" and Kiffin won't be paid. The Raiders owe Kiffin about $3.5 million under the terms of his contract, according to reports.
Shanahan, now the coach of the Denver Broncos, took a lighthearted approach Wednesday, telling reporters: "I was a little disappointed, to be honest with you. When you take a look at it, I was there 582 days. Lane Kiffin was there 616 days. So what it really means is that Al Davis liked Lane more than he liked me. I really don't think it's fair. I won three more games, yet he got 34 more days of work. That just doesn't seem right."
Yes, Shanahan apparently counted the days.
"I knew how many days I was there," he said, according to the Associated Press. "I just wasn't sure how long Lane was there. And then I found out after that press conference that Al really liked Lane more than me because he lasted 34 more days. That's 34 more days of pay, you think about that? And I had three more wins than him. That doesn't seem right, does it?"
A reporter asked Shanahan whether 34 more days of work by Kiffin for the Raiders really meant 34 more days of pay.
"No," Shanahan said, "I can't guarantee that."
Kiffin had a record of 5-15 for the Raiders. Shanahan went 8-12.
Shanahan hinted that he watched Davis's news conference Tuesday. He declined to respond to Davis's reported post-news conference remarks that Shanahan's two Super Bowl triumphs with Denver were tainted because the Broncos were found guilty of salary cap violations.
The week in which Davis's methods of running the Raiders became a topic for renewed national debate will end with Shanahan and another former Oakland head coach, Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, facing one another Sunday.
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