NFL Rumors: Raiders’ Antonio Pierce Eyed for HC Interview by Falcons amid Titans Buzz
Joseph LogoFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 14, 2024

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 14: Interim head coach Antonio Pierce of the Las Vegas Raiders looks on before playing against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on December 14, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)

Candice Ward/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons requested permission to interview Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach Antonio Pierce, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Atlanta also has interviews lined up with Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and Baltimore Ravens defensive line coach Anthony Weaver.

On Saturday, the Tennessee Titans confirmed they had completed their own interview with Pierce, who went 5-4 with Las Vegas after replacing Josh McDaniels.

Momentum steadily began building behind the idea of removing the interim tag from the 45-year-old. Maxx Crosby and Davante Adams were among the notable Raiders players to make their opinions clear.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Pierce has become the “leading candidate” in the Raiders’ coaching search, with one source telling Schefter they’d “be blown away if Antonio weren’t the pick.”

During his introductory press conference, the former linebacker said his love for the Raiders well predated his playing and coaching careers:

Bridget Condon @BridgetCondon_

Interim Head Coach Antonio Pierce

“I grew up in Compton, California. I was born a Raider. I was born with the Raiders rolling in the Coliseum in LA. I was rolling with NWA, talking straight out of Compton, rocking Raider hats. When an opportunity came to work with Josh and Pat…

It’s hard to envision Pierce seriously considering any other opportunities if the Raiders are prepared to offer him the permanent job.

For Las Vegas, pivoting to a different candidate could create some fallout. Rapoport reported Saturday three-time Pro Bowler Maxx Crosby might go so far as to request a trade. He said the locker room is “united” behind Pierce:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

From @NFLGameDay: The Jim Harbaugh sweepstakes are heating up, as he’s set to meet with the #Chargers. Meanwhile, Maxx Crosby could request a trade if the #Raiders don’t hire Antonio Pierce.

And when it comes to the Falcons, Pierce may not be their preferred target.

Dianna Russini of The Athletic reported has been showing interest in a pursuit of Bill Belichick for “weeks.” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler followed up Saturday to report the two sides now have “potentially some mutual interest” with Belichick no longer employed by the New England Patriots.

The Falcons have been linked with a number of other coaches, most recently interviewing San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan on Saturday.

At this stage, you might consider Pierce a bit of a long shot for Atlanta if only because of how the signs are pointing to his return to the Raiders.

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