Green Bay Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie, top, has been hired as Raiders general manager, the Raiders announced Jan. 6. He has worked with the Packers since 1994.
McKenzie, 46, was a linebacker on Raiders teams from 1985 to 1988. He reportedly had the support of former Raiders executives Ron Wolf and Ken Herock and Hall of Fame coach John Madden, who were assisting team owner Mark Davis in his search for a new GM.
Four days after his hiring, McKenzie was introduced at a news conference at Raiders headquarters in Alameda, Calif. Sitting alongside Mark Davis, McKenzie said:
"My approach is old school. I’m a roll-up-the-sleeves type of guy, just wake up early like iron workers and come prepared to get the job done. When this building is all working together for one common goal we’re going to be able to feel it. That’s when we know we have a winner. We will win championships here.’’
The Raiders haven't had someone in a GM role since former senior assistant Bruce Allen departed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2003 season. Allen had been a top executive with the Raiders since 1996.
Raiders managing general partner Al Davis, who passed away Oct. 8, had served as the franchise's GM after Allen left the team. First-year Raiders coach Hue Jackson had handled personnel decisions since Davis' passing.
As the first order of business in his new job, McKenzie fired Jackson on Jan. 10, who went 8-8 in his only season as Raiders coach.
"There comes a time when change is necessary," McKenzie told reporters. "For the Raiders the time is now. The Raiders organization, with respect and deference for all its tradition and history, is about to embark on a new era.”
Said Mark Davis: "The one thing I know is what I don’t know. The one thing I did know was I needed to bring the right people in here. … My feeling always has been that if my father wasn’t here we needed someone to run that football side of the building. I needed to find the right person. I truly believe that Reggie McKenzie is the right man for this job.”
McKenzie had spent the past 18 years in the front office of the Packers, last serving as director of football operations since 2008. He reportedly is respected for his role in helping to build a Super Bowl championship team with the Packers.
“I would like to thank Reggie McKenzie for all that he has done for the Green Bay Packers over the last 18 years,” Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson said in a statement Jan. 6. “Reggie is a tremendous talent, but more importantly, he is a good friend and great family man. His contributions to our organization are numerous and he is ready for the opportunity to be a general manager in the National Football League. It’s been a privilege to work with Reggie, he is a good man."
McKenzie said Jan. 10: "The Packer organization is done right, and that’s why I’m going to make sure our chain of command is done that way."
McKenzie was a 10th round pick of the Raiders in 1985. The former Tennessee linebacker played four of his six NFL seasons with the Raiders. He also spent time with the 49ers. He joined the Packers as a pro personnel assistant in 1994.