Former Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio has largely kept his head down since being fired in 2017. But it looks like he’s landed a new gig that will keep him very close to football.
According to the Associated Press, ESPN has hired Del Rio as an analyst for the 2019 NFL season. Per the report, he will be joining NFL Live as early as this Friday.
In a phone interview, Del Rio expressed his excitement about learning about “the media business.” He made it clear that he is “not going to be afraid of having an opinion.”
“This excites me about being able to learn about myself and the media business,” Del Rio said during a phone interview. “I’m not going to be afraid of having an opinion and something to offer.”
An All-American linebacker at USC in the early 1980s, Del Rio became a Pro Bowl linebacker in the NFL. He quickly transitioned to coaching after retiring in 1996.
Within a few years, he was the linebackers coach of the Baltimore Ravens and earned a Super Bowl ring in 2000.
He became defensive coordinator of the Panthers in 2002, but was quickly hired as head coach of Jacksonville in 2003.
As head coach of the Jaguars, Del Rio led the team to two playoff appearances in his first five seasons. In 2007, his Jaguars pulled off a stunning road upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Del Rio was fired after a 3-8 start in 2011 and spent the next three years as defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. His work in developing the Broncos defense earned another head coaching job in 2015.
So ESPN has hired @coachdelrio. He’s excellent. Smart, communicative and explains difficult concepts well. He’ll be fun to watch.
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) August 15, 2019
He was hired as head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2015 and quickly returned them to respectability. The Raiders went 12-4 in 2016, clinching the AFC West and ending a 13-year playoff drought.
But after going 6-10 in 2017, the Raiders fired him and coaxed Jon Gruden out of retirement.
There are a few familiar faces Del Rio will find on NFL Live. Rex Ryan was a fellow assistant in Baltimore, while John Fox was his boss in Carolina and Denver.