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Ex-NFL GM asks Pierce to ‘shut up,’ but Raiders coach isn’t changing

Updated February 29, 2024 - 4:13 pm

INDIANAPOLIS — Antonio Pierce has been the Raiders full-time coach for a month.

He’s already managed to ruffle some feathers with the unapologetic way he represents himself and the team.

For instance, some took offense to the “Patrick Mahomes rules” Pierce laid out. He explained on Maxx Crosby’s “The Rush” podcast how the Raiders planned to defend the Chiefs’ Super Bowl-winning quarterback aggressively like the Detroit Pistons once did with Michael Jordan.

Former NFL general manager Mike Lombardi, who worked for the Raiders from 1998 to 2006, was one person who didn’t like what Pierce had to say.

“This guy is driving me crazy,” Lombardi said on “The GM Shuffle” podcast. “Can he just shut up? Why won’t somebody in the Raiders tell him to shut up?”

Lombardi, whose son Mick was fired as the Raiders offensive coordinator in October, questioned the authenticity of Pierce’s understanding of the Raiders. Lombardi insinuated Pierce is using his Los Angeles-area upbringing as a fake grasp of the organization’s history.

“It’s so comical,” Lombardi said. “Because he’s from Compton, he thinks he knows the Raider way. It’s a joke.”

Pierce just shrugged his shoulders.

Nothing about his plans to defend Mahomes crossed any lines. He also doesn’t care about how anyone interprets or digests what he says.

Pierce just plans to be true to himself.

“How I talk, how I walk, how I act. I don’t mince my words. I don’t bite my tongue,” Pierce said. “It is what it is.”

Pierce has an ally in Raiders general manager Tom Telesco.

Telesco has already come to appreciate the proud manner in which Pierce represents the organization.

“You want to have an identity of who you are. And I want to lean into the Raiders identity. And that’s part of the Raiders identity,” Telesco said. “So it doesn’t bother me at all.”

Pierce made it clear upon being named the Raiders interim coach that he would remain who he is. He reiterated that to owner Mark Davis when the interim tag was lifted in January.

“I don’t know what else you guys want,” Pierce said. “I tell everybody, it’s not a joke. It’s not a gimmick. It’s me.”

There might be some method to the approach as well. Pierce reminded everyone this week at the NFL scouting combine it’s not necessarily a bad thing that the Raiders are the subject of conversation at this time of year.

“Good press, bad press, it’s press,” Pierce said. “And if people are gonna talk about the Raiders in February, then we’re doing something right. Even if they think it’s wrong.”

Either way, Pierce can look at himself in the mirror knowing he is being authentic. So he can live with everyone’s reaction, good or bad.

“Because when I leave the job, I’m gonna be that guy I was before,” Pierce said. “But the one thing that ain’t gonna change about me is who I am.”

And he knows that day will eventually come. So why even fake it?

“This is a temporary seat. I’m not gonna fool,” Pierce said. “I got hired, I’m gonna get fired.”

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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