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Raiders owner Mark Davis says firing GM Reggie McKenzie was ‘tough’ decision

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis finally broke his silence regarding general manager Reggie McKenzie’s firing.

According to Scott Bair of NBC Bay Area, Davis thanked McKenzie for his seven years as part of the organization and said the decision to move on from McKenzie was a “tough” one to make.

“Reggie is a great person with a great family,” Davis said. “It was tough [to make the decision]. It was tough for him early on, but he was unselfish. He could’ve done some things for instant gratification, but he didn’t do that. He worked hard for our organization, and we are thankful for everything he did for the Raiders.”

McKenzie took over as Oakland’s GM in 2012 to spearhead the Raiders’ rebuilding efforts. After a rough first three years, the Raiders rebuild finally bore fruit in 2016 as they finished 12-4 to make their first playoff appearance since 2002. However, the team took a step back in 2017, which led to head coach Jack Del Rio’s dismissal.

Jon Gruden was then brought in on a 10-year contract and subsequently took on a lot more control of McKenzie’s responsibilities as GM. Gruden traded away most of the promising young pieces McKenzie originally drafted and made personnel moves he preferred. As a result, McKenzie’s departure from the organization seemed inevitable.

Whoever the Raiders hire to replace McKenzie as GM — if they even do hire one — will likely have to deal with the situation where Gruden will be the primary decision-maker on the football side for the foreseeable future.