Written today in Sports Illustrated, by Peter King:

• I learned a lot about Al Davis that I didn’t know—and I’ve just skimmed some of the anecdotes—from “Al Davis: Behind the Raiders Shield,” (Rather Be Feared Publishing) by Bruce Kebric and Jon Kingdon, with Steve Corkran. Kebric and Kingdon are former Raiders scouts who worked for Al Davis, and Corkran is a longtime beat guy covering the team. This is the kind of cool content you’ll get in the book, a scene from after the devastating Tuck Rule loss to the Patriots when Davis was ruminating about Jon Gruden’s future as coach:

Not long after the New England game, Davis asked Kingdon: “Would you take a first-, third- and fourth-round draft picks for Gruden?”

“No,” Kingdon said. “We’re getting ready to go to a Super Bowl and Gruden’s a great coach. Why make a change like that?”

Davis, as always, had an answer. “He’s only going to stay for one more year, and then he’s going to leave,” Davis said.

“Fine, I’ll take the one year,” Kingdon said. “Maybe we can change his mind.”

Soon, Davis received a blockbuster offer from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “Al called me late one night,” Kebric said, “and he said, ‘I can get two ones and two twos for Gruden. Would you do it?’ I said, ‘I would trade Vince Lombardi for two ones and two twos.’ ”

Ultimately, the Raiders received a first-round and second-round pick in the 2002 draft, a 2003 first-rounder and a 2004 second-rounder, plus $8 million, from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This was a coup, in Davis’ mind, in relation to what other teams had received for trading coaches. Acquiring Bill Belichick from the New York Jets in 2000 cost New England a first-, a fourth-, a fifth- and two seventh-round selections, while the Jets had sent four of their draft picks, including a first-rounder, to the Patriots for the rights to Bill Parcells in 1997. Davis wanted more, but Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer refused to include perennial All-Pro defensive tackle Warren Sapp as part of the compensation.

Glazer held firm, and Sapp played an integral role in helping the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory over the Raiders in Gruden’s first season in Tampa.

Exerpt from:

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