Avezzano won't return


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Jan 22, 2006
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Avezzano won't return
Shell appears set to add Walsh, Slater to staff
By Jerry McDonald, STAFF WRITER

With a mayor and another Hall of Fame left tackle poised to join the coaching staff, one only knows what the Oakland Raiders might come up with for their newest opening — special teams coach.
Joe Avezzano, whose silver mane was a conspicuous figure along the Raiders sideline the past two years, is on the market for another job, with the club declining to extend an offer after his contract expired.

The decision comes as no surprise, given owner Al Davis' observation that ''there is no question that while we had two of the prime kickers in the NFL, we still weren't there with our special teams," during the conference call announcing the firing of Norv Turner.

Kicker Sebastian Janikowski was 20-for-30 on field-goal attempts, while punter Shane Lechler underwent a rare late-season slump and did not have the Pro Bowl season he did in 2004.

Coverage units were inconsistent at best.

Two offensive staff positions could be filled early next week. Tom Walsh, a former assistant who worked for the Raiders from 1982-94 and coached under Art Shell, is expected to resign as mayor of Swan Valley, Idaho, and rejoin Shell in Oakland.

"Tom and Art are copacetic in their thought process with regard to the design of an offense," said Danny More, who represents both men. "Nothing's final yet, but we expect him to be in Oakland."

Swan Valley is a 10.3 mile patch of land in Bonneville County near the Snake River. Its population was 226 in 2004. Walsh, who won the last mayoral election unopposed, runs a bed and breakfast ranch with his wife. He last coached in 1998, when he resigned under pressure after two years at Idaho State with a record of 6-16.

Walsh has referred all questions to the Raiders but did tell the Idaho Falls Post Register, "I'm going to have to resign, if I go. I cannot be mayor long distance. I don't think it'd be fair to the community, to the citizens as far as the issues and concerns out there."

City clerk Ann Lockridge said she was expecting a letter of resignation but hadn't received it yet.

Meanwhile, Jackie Slater, a 20-year veteran of the Los Angeles and St. Louis Rams inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001, was due in town for an interview Monday for a position as an offensive line coach, a team source said. He is expected to be added to the staff.

The Raiders have already hired Irv Eatman, a line assistant the past two years with Kansas City. It is not known whether Slater or Eatman will coach the offensive line, or whether they will share the job under the direction of Shell, a Hall of Fame left tackle.

Slater, 52, has not been a college or pro coach. He has worked as a TV analyst and runs clinics and seminars for young offensive linemen.

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