Raiders hire Ravens aide Al Saunders

Updated: January 21, 2011, 2:39 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The Raiders hired former Ravens assistant coach Al Saunders as their offensive coordinator, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Thursday.

Saunders was given permission to talk to the Raiders by Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who said Tuesday he would never want to deny a coach an opportunity.

"Obviously you never want to lose really good coaches," Harbaugh said. "Al Saunders is a great coach and a great man. He's tremendous and he's been huge for us."

Saunders has been an offensive consultant for Baltimore the past two seasons, working on the staff with new Raiders coach Hue Jackson in 2009. Jackson went to Oakland last year as offensive coordinator and was promoted to head coach in place of Tom Cable earlier this week.

Jackson said Tuesday at his introductory news conference that he will remain the primary play-caller in Oakland as head coach. He mentioned Saunders as someone he would like to interview for the coordinator job. Saunders has interviewed in the past for head coach and coordinator jobs in Oakland.

Saunders has been a coach for nearly three decades in the NFL. He went 17-22 in two-plus seasons as head coach for the San Diego Chargers from 1986 to '88 and has spent most of his career as a respected offensive assistant.

He spent eight seasons running offenses in Kansas City, Washington and St. Louis. He spent two years with current Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell with the Redskins.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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