The Oakland Raiders named Tony Sparano as their interim head coach while they search for a full-time replacement following the dismissal of Dennis Allen. Sparano previously served as head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Jim Trotter of ESPN passed along word of the decision, and the team later announced the move:
The Raiders also confirmed the choice on their official site and provided comments from general manager Reggie McKenzie.
"Tony Sparano has a strong presence in this organization," he said. "His experience and leadership qualities will serve the team well in helping reach the goal of everyone here, which is to win football games."
The Raiders and Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle provide Sparano's comments on the challenge ahead:
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com passes along more from McKenzie, who spoke about his role in the Raiders' struggles:
Andrew Siciliano and Marc Sessler of NFL Network have more from McKenzie:
Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports the Raiders have not determined who the next coach of the Raiders will be:
Mark Davis briefly spoke about the prospect of eventually hiring Jon Gruden as the Raiders next coach according to Marc Sessler of NFL.con:
Davis told reporters Tuesday that he wouldn't rule out contacting Jon Gruden.
"I don't know," Davis said. "He may reach out to me, I may reach out to him -- I may reach out to anybody. I'm not going to talk about future coaches."
(Michael) Silver told NFL Total Access on Tuesday that an "emotional connection" still exists between Gruden and the Raiders, with sources telling him "that there have been overtures, even before this, to Jon Gruden -- that Mark Davis is prepared to spend a lot of money, because that's what it would take to pry Jon out of the booth and back to Oakland."
Sparano took over the Dolphins ahead of the 2008 season. He led the team to a playoff appearance in his first season at the helm. He failed to crack the .500 mark in the next two seasons, however, and was let go after a 4-9 start to the 2011 campaign.
The 52-year-old offensive guru will attempt to provide stability to a team that has gotten off to a rocky start. The Raiders are 0-4 after getting blown out by Miami in London, sending them into a bye week on a low note and necessitating the coaching change.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network notes Sparano is the only coach on the staff with a contract that runs beyond this season:
It's certainly a chance for the longtime coach to prove himself in a lead role again. The Raiders have looked out of sync on both sides of the ball and looked completely overmatched against the Dolphins.
Turning things all the way around in a tough division with a struggling roster isn't a realistic goal. The job for Sparano is trying to get the group to at least show some progress, potentially putting himself in position to get another full-time gig either with Oakland or someone else.