NOW THAT the Raiders have said goodbye to Charles Woodson, maybe they're ready to bring in Lester Hayes for a workout.

Maybe they are, at this moment, trying to convince the Rev. Napoleon Kaufman to leave the pulpit and come back to the Silver and Black.

Maybe they will tell us today they have signed the comfortably retired Chester McGlockton, an East Bay resident operating a Fatburger franchise, to a four-year contract.

In rehiring Tom Walsh, the Raiders again reminded us there is no organization remotely like theirs. Many companies think outside the box, but how many ignore the boundaries of logic?

After hiring a head coach, Art Shell, who has been out of coaching for six years, the Raiders are bringing him up to speed with an offensive coordinator who has been out of coaching for seven years.

Walsh has yet to screw up a third-and-1, so our skepticism is highly pro-active. But we understand the giggling among fans in Denver and Kansas City. We see why the rest of the league so often rolls its collective eyes at the things the Raiders do.

While this may work, bringing the Oakland offense into the 21st century, allowing it to score 600 points next season, the recipe, put simply, has the look of disaster.

Demystifying Pittsburgh's zone blitz is challenging enough for the most proficient and up-to-date offensive coordinator, e. g. Denver coach Mike Shanahan. Now imagine an OC who hasn't seen Pittsburgh's zone blitz.

The last time Walsh coached in the NFL, the Raiders were playing in Los Angeles, and the initials "LT" meant Lawrence Taylor. Walsh has been out of the league longer than Kaufman and McGlockton combined. His last turn coaching the Raiders began in 1982, when Jim Plunkett was throwing the passes, Ray Guy was booming the punts and Hayes was the left cornerback.

Walsh was fired, along with Shell, after the 1994 season, which happened to be Year 2 of the James Jett experiment.

Walsh has since been out of the NFL. He was hired as head coach at Idaho State before the 1997 season and fired after the 1998 season following back-to-back 3-8 seasons. He also was imperious, impersonal and unpopular — so I'm told.

Walsh, whose last coaching gig was a minor league bit in 1999, most recently was the proprietor of the Hansen Silver Guest Ranch, a bed-and-breakfast in tiny Swan Valley, Idaho. He also served as mayor of the town.

No joke. In the span of 10 days, the Raiders went from interviewing Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, supposedly on the cutting edge of offense in today's NFL, to hiring someone who was cutting ribbons to celebrate the opening of Pinky's Bait Shop.

Put another way, a man who began the month presiding over a town of 213 (est.) and making sure the eggs were cooked just right, will end February coaching in the world's best football league, supervising million-dollar talents such as Randy Moss and Jerry Porter.

It's not as if Walsh distinguished himself the first time around with the Raiders, who were outscored in each of his last three seasons in charge of the offense. They averaged 18 points per game in that span.

Raiders fans certainly wanted something more. There were pleas for Rich Gannon, who is too smart to take a job requiring so many hours for relatively low pay. Some suggested Cincinnati assistant Hue Jackson, others offered up Hawaii coach June Jones.

Names were so plentiful, I half expected somebody to bring up former Loyala Marymount coach Paul Westhead.

Walsh, though, was the guy Shell targeted almost immediately to stimulate an offense that spent 2005 in various states of paralysis.

The Raiders made this move because they believe in Walsh. Because Shell is familiar and comfortable with Walsh. Because Raiders boss Al Davis signed off on it.

Walsh, 56, a native of Martinez (as was former head coach Norv Turner), made the move because he was running his neighborhood and a bed-and-breakfast inn.

He likely drooled over the chance to leave his old jobs for one that pays a six-figure salary — presumably.

Leave it to the Raiders. They coaxed Greg Townsend out of retirement, however briefly, in 1997. They once had a 47-year-old kicker named George Blanda. They know scrap heaps and, now, they know small-town mayors.

Are they open-minded? Eccentric? Irrational? You be the judge. 

The Raiders have proved, once again, beyond doubt, they are the team most likely to hire — or fire — anybody, at any time.

Training camp is five months away. Don't assume Lester or Chester or the Rev. Kaufman won't be there.

Monte Poole can be reached at

(510) 208-6461 or by e-mail at

mpoole@angnewspapers.com.