Kliff Kingsbury Shuns New Raiders Head Coach Antonio Pierce

Just when it appeared Kliff Kingsbury was heading to Las Vegas, the Raiders' search for a new offensive coordinator continues.

Just 48 hours ago, fans of the Las Vegas Raiders began to envision the Air Raid arriving at Allegiant Stadium. Now, they’re wondering who’ll arrive next as the offensive coordinator after a stunning twist occurred Saturday.

Kliff Kingsbury has withdrawn his name for the open offensive coordinator position for the Silver and Black. This now leaves new head coach Antonio Pierce searching for his first offensive leader on the coaching staff.

NFL World Stunned by Kliff Kingsbury Decision

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter first reported the news. Kingsbury, again, was linked as the man anticipated to fill the Raiders’ offensive coordinator opening.

With the former Arizona Cardinals and Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach in place, “The Black Hole” began to envision a pass-heavy approach in Sin City. And for quarterback Aidan O’Connell, Kingsbury’s offense would bring him back to the system he ran at Purdue — which had Kingsbury protege Graham Harrell running the offense.

Now, Kingsbury has left the NFL world stunned.

Ok that was fast Kliff ok Raiders who’s next?” said former NFL defensive back and Las Vegas sports personality Mark McMillian on X (formerly known as Twitter). 

Raiders insider for The Athletic Vic Tafur offered this tidbit on the situation.

“The deal had not been signed, though both sides thought it was a formality. Raiders felt Kingsbury was ‘most creative’ of those interviewed, and were excited,” Tafur posted

Meanwhile, Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Vincent Bonsignore shared this interesting angle on Kingsbury’s interview process with the Raiders.

That’s when NFL analyst Mitchell Renz posted this reasoning on why Kingsbury backed out.

Another Prominent College Football Name Mentioned With Raiders

Perhaps this opens the door for Chip Kelly of UCLA to leave Westwood and head back to the league.

MORE: 2024 NFL Coordinator Interview Tracker

Kelly, as mentioned Thursday, interviewed for the Raiders’ OC opening. NFL insider Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network reported Kelly sat down with the Silver and Black “at least twice.”

Kelly also interviewed for the Washington Commanders — now considered the trending place where Kingsbury could be headed off to.

Another trending name is a familiar face to the Raiders: former head coach Hue Jackson. Jackson went 8-8 in his lone season with the franchise in 2011 before the team eventually replaced him with Dennis Allen.

Jackson then went a dismal 3-36-1 with the Cleveland Browns. However, he’s managed to rebuild himself at Grambling State by posting an 8-14 overall mark but improved to 4-4 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in 2023 — arguably the toughest conference in the HBCU realm.

Here are other names who bear watching now that the Raiders are still seeking an OC:

  • Eric Bieniemy: The two-time Super Bowl-winning coordinator under Andy Reid is likely not returning to the Commanders. Perhaps owner Mark Davis and Pierce can attempt to reel in Bieniemy back to the AFC West — this time facing the Kansas City Chiefs twice a year.
  • Klint Kubiak: Currently Kyle Shanahan’s passing game coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, perhaps the Raiders can continue a trend of successful past 49er assistants. Bobby Slowik held the same position Kubiak owned in 2022. He has since turned the Houston Texans into the league’s 11th-best scoring offense while winning the AFC South. Kubiak, though, has the Chiefs to prepare for in the Raiders’ city on Feb. 11.
  • Mike Sullivan: The longtime NFL assistant recently helped get the Pittsburgh Steelers into the playoffs after taking over for the fired Matt Canada. Sullivan was also one of the interviews for the Raiders before the belief Kingsbury was set to take over. Sullivan remains with a nebulous 2024, as the Raiders and New Orleans Saints are the only places he’s interviewed for.
  • Jerrod Johnson: A potential dark horse contender here for OC. The Texans QB coach, however, has interviewed for multiple OC openings following his impressive work with C.J. Stroud. Perhaps Pierce and the Raiders pivot here. Plus, the Raiders could still draft a QB at No. 13 or on day two of the draft — which bodes well for the QB guru Johnson if he’s tabbed here.

  • Antwaan Randle-El: Like Johnson, Randle-El is another position coach who has interviewed for OC gigs, most recently the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Unlike Johnson, Randle-El produced Pro Bowler Amon-Ra St. Brown for the Detroit Lions. He’s also a Super Bowl winner like Pierce. Perhaps he can install the aggressive Lions’ approach in Sin City if hired.
  • Keith Williams: The current pass game specialist and assistant WR coach of the Baltimore Ravens may be considered a surprise name. However, there’s this prominent connection “Dub” has with the Silver and Black: Davante Adams. He once recruited Adams to Fresno State before helping mold him into one of the nation’s top wideouts. Since then, the receiver guru has gotten Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Zay Flowers to be breakout WRs in Baltimore. If not OC, perhaps Pierce can hand him full WR coaching reins.

MORE: Grading the Hire — Raiders Choose Ex-Chargers GM Tom Telesco

Elsewhere, per ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler, former Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy was considered a “strong candidate” in the Raiders’ interview process. He also added that Bieniemy did talk to the Raiders.

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