Al Davis: Cable was a big liability

Al Davis (AP/Paul Sakuma)

The Oakland Raiders call a press conference to introduce new coach Hue Jackson, but the event dissolves into a trashing of former coach Tom Cable by owner Al Davis.

It's a good thing former Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable landed on his feet with the Seattle Seahawks. After the trashing he got from his ex-boss Tuesday, he might consider himself lucky to be working in the NFL.

At a press conference ostensibly to introduce new Raiders head coach Hue Jackson, team owner Al Davis took his usual theater of the absurd to a new level, saying that Cable was fired for conducting himself in a manner that was "against the Raider way."

At just about the same time this was happening, the Seahawks were naming Cable as their new assistant head coach/offensive line. Cable is a 1982 graduate of nearby Snohomish High School.

Davis elected not to bring back Cable despite the fact the Raiders, after seven consecutive years of 11 or more losses, finished 8-8.

First of all, Davis resented Cable's postseason remark, "We're not losers anymore," as if an 8-8 record is somehow acceptable. Davis also made it clear he didn't consider Cable head coach material, although he did say he's a pretty good zone-blocking coach. But the bottom line was Davis' belief that Cable was putting the Raiders' reputation at risk with his behavior.

That's why he docked $120,000 from Cable's paychecks in $20,000 increments, he said, because of the possible financial liability the team faced. He said he could have fired Cable and paid him nothing.

Davis cited the alleged altercation with former Raiders assistant Randy Hanson in which Hanson claims his jaw was broken by Cable at the team's facility. He also said there was a lawsuit by a former Cable girlfriend, Marie Lutz, who alleged physical abuse by the coach.

"He brought her on road trips," Davis said. "This is the guy who's talking about focus … and they're flying in friends so that they can be with them the night before the game.

"All this stuff goes a long way against my wishes … and against the Raider way. And I just wasn't going to take it anymore."

Davis rarely speaks to the media; this was his first press conference in 16 months. But it was well worth the wait, lasting 1 hour, 38 minutes in what was clearly a session designed to put forth his argument that Cable, who has filed a grievance with the league, should not be paid.

In fact, the press conference for Hue Jackson appeared to be over when Davis insisted he had more to say. So everyone sat back down as he opened a file and began to explain why Cable had been docked his pay.

Davis said he asked Cable if there was anything regarding additional accusations of abuse that he should be made aware of. The coach said no.

The result was that they parted ways, and now Davis is doing everything he can to undermine Cable. In the end, the Raiders owner always gets the last word.

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