ALAMEDA — Fired Raiders coach Lane Kiffin on Wednesday filed a complaint through the NFL Coaches Association over his termination by managing general partner Al Davis "for cause" and "without pay," ESPN's John Clayton reported.
Kiffin is seeking the remainder of his salary for the three-year contract he signed before the 2007 season, approximately $2.6 million. Davis fired Kiffin on Sept. 30. In the process, Davis told Kiffin that he wouldn't be paid the balance of his contract for violating the terms.
"I wouldn't do it, if I didn't think I was going to prevail," Davis said at a news conference Sept. 30 to announce Kiffin's firing and the hiring of his replacement.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this month that he expected a claim and that he will preside over the hearing.
On Wednesday night, the Raiders issued a lengthy release through senior executive John Herrera with a point-by-point rebuttal to Kiffin's grievance. The release concluded: "Mr. Kiffin was terminated for cause. The grievance is without merit."
There's still time
The Raiders find themselves only two games behind the AFC West-leading Denver Broncos despite a 2-5 record. It's enough to give the Raiders optimism that anything can happen in the final nine games.
"We don't put it out of our mind," coach Tom Cable said. "We talked about it (Monday). Why wouldn't you talk about it? It's anybody's deal right now."
The Raiders squandered a chance to move within a game of the Broncos by losing to the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday. Even so, they didn't lose any ground on the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, who also lost. The Broncos had a bye.
"Here we are, kind of sitting where we were when we went into (last) weekend," Cable said. "I don't think you can put it out of your mind, because if you don't ultimately have that as your prize, then what are you doing this for?
"And yet, right now, the most important thing is the process to get there. Let's be real about that, too. And that's winning football games."
History isn't on the Raiders' side. Only five 3-5 teams advanced to the postseason since the playoffs were expanded to 12 teams in 1990 — the New Orleans Saints ('90), the New England Patriots ('94), the Detroit Lions ('95), the Jacksonville Jaguars ('96) and the New York Jets (2002).
Running back Darren McFadden (foot), defensive end Derrick Burgess (triceps), strong safety Gibril Wilson (toe), cornerback Chris Johnson (back) and special-teamer Jon Alston (foot) missed practice.
Cable said McFadden's turf-toe injury is the reason he didn't practice much last week or play against the Ravens. However, McFadden was wearing a protective boot on his left foot Wednesday, whereas the turf-toe injury he sustained Sept. 14 was to his right big toe.
McFadden hurt his left foot early in Oakland's game against the New York Jets on Oct. 19. A trainer taped the foot, and McFadden returned to the game. No mention was made of the injury by Cable or McFadden afterward.
On Wednesday, Cable and McFadden confirmed that it now is the left toe that is causing McFadden the most discomfort.
"I don't know if it will be a problem for a while," McFadden said, "but it's just one of those things where I just have to play it day-by-day and see how it feels."
— Steve Corkran