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Gruden’s gone, so Davis hires his shadow

By Rob Gloster The Associated Press
Thursday March 14, 2002

ALAMEDA – Having let Jon Gruden go to Tampa Bay, the Oakland Raiders replaced him with an assistant coach who has shadowed Gruden for the past seven years. 

Bill Callahan, who was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach, said Wednesday he doesn’t plan to change much of the system Gruden presided over during the last four years as Raiders coach. 

“Jon and I are very similar in a lot of respects – our work ethic, our intensity,” said Callahan, who has never been a head coach at any level. “The system itself will not change. The day-to-day functions will not change.” 

One thing that will change is the personality of the Raiders’ head coach. 

Gruden was theatrically intense on the sidelines, throwing tantrums and glaring at players and officials. Callahan, 45, who moved with Gruden from Philadelphia to Oakland in 1998, is studious and laid-back. 

By promoting from within the system, Raiders owner Al Davis appears to have reasserted control over the team he has guided for nearly four decades. Gruden came to the Raiders as an outsider, and his relationship with Davis was strained at times. 

As a sign of who now holds the real power on the Raiders, Davis sat on a silver and black armchair – which looked very much like a throne – during the news conference announcing Callahan’s promotion. 

Callahan sat on a black and white folding chair, as did Raiders executives Bruce Allen and Amy Trask. 

Callahan will be making a lot less money than his former boss is making now. 

Gruden signed a five-year, $17.5 million contract with the Buccaneers in February despite being in the final year of his deal with the Raiders. As compensation, Oakland got four draft picks and $8 million.