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Could Tony Sparano stay as Raiders' coach?

12/22/2014

With one game remaining for the Oakland Raiders, one of the topics we will hear a lot about is the status of interim coach Tony Sparano.

After Sparano raised his record to 3-8 -- he took over when the Raiders were 0-4 under fired coach Dennis Allen -- with a 26-24 home win against Buffalo, key Oakland veterans Charles Woodson and Antonio Smith spoke highly of Sparano. Woodson said Sparano "made his case" to be promoted to the permanent coach. Sparano has also said he believes he should stay.

Is it a possibility? Does Sparano really have a chance to become Oakland's permanent coach?

I wouldn't say he's the favorite, but I could see it getting to that point where Sparano becomes a candidate.

Clearly, Jim Harbaugh is expected to be the first target. But if Harbaugh, who is expected to leave the San Francisco 49ers next week, goes to Michigan or another NFL team, the search could be extensive. Coaching candidates such as Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will emerge, but Sparano could then also be in the mix.

There is precedent in Oakland. The late Al Davis promoted Tom Cable from interim coach in 2009. It's not out of the question that Sparano will get some consideration.