Raiders Sack Defensive Line, Back Coaches : Pro football: Defensive coordinator, linebacker assistant are retained. No word on Shell's status.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Raiders swept most of their defensive coaching staff out the door Thursday, firing at least three of the six coaches. Gone are defensive line coach Ray Hamilton and defensive back coaches Jack Stanton and Odis McKinney.

A team source indicated that defensive line coach Gunther Cunningham was also fired. Cunningham was unavailable for comment.

Only defensive coordinator John Fox and linebacker coach Jim Haslett apparently have survived.

Sources inside and outside the organization say owner Al Davis is also strongly considering firing head coach Art Shell.

Already expected to leave for a job with the Rams is director of football operations Steve Ortmayer, who doubled as special teams coach.

Contacted late Thursday, Raider executive assistant Al LoCasale said there were no announcements of any firings.

Davis has been in contact with Joe Bugel, former head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, about a possible job, thought to be as an offensive assistant.

The Raiders are coming off one of their most frustrating seasons, finishing 9-7 and out of the playoffs with a team many predicted would reach the Super Bowl.

Cunningham, 46, formerly the Raiders' defensive coordinator, has been with the team for four seasons and in coaching for 26 years. Hamilton just completed his second season with the Raiders and 10th overall as a coach. McKinney, a former defensive back with the Raiders, rejoined the team as a coach five years ago.

"It could have been anybody or everybody," said Stanton of his firing from an organization he has been with since 1989.

"After a disappointing season, you never know. The team lost as a whole. You couldn't put your finger on any particular phase. It was a complete team effort. I think everybody in the organization thought it was a better team than it was, including Mr. Davis, but it just wasn't. This probably is what has to happen to make everybody feel better."

Has this experience soured Stanton, 56, on coaching?

"Not at all," he said. "I'm just going to try to get a job. I've been at it for 33 years."

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