As the Oakland Raiders organization transitions after Al Davis' death, the owner's son Mark has been seeking advice and guidance from former coach John Madden, Ron Wolf and Ken Herock, three NFL veterans who all worked at various points for the Raiders, a source tells ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The Raiders know that they can't talk to and hire the general manager candidates they want during the season, and so until they can, Davis will continue leaning on the men who know the league well, the source told Schefter.
Al Davis had previously talked about bringing Madden back to the franchise to help his son run the team, but the Hall of Fame coach told The New York Times last week that Al Davis never actually asked him to return to the organization.
Madden told the paper that he had last seen Davis at the Raiders' home game against New England on Oct. 2.
"You knew he was having problems but he was better that week than he was the week before," Madden told The Times. "He had trouble speaking and drinking. But it's Al Davis and he'd fight it. His mother lived to be more than 100 and I thought he'd fight and live to be 100."
Madden, who told The Times that he spoke to Davis the night before his death, said he considered the combative and mercurial owner "family."
"He was my best friend," Madden told The Times. "If I had one call to make, if I needed anything, the call would be to Al Davis. I lost the one-call guy, the mentor, the father, the best friend."
Wolf was GM of the Green Bay Packers in the 1990s. Herock worked as a personnel director for three NFL teams, spending seven seasons with Oakland.
One of the men recommended to Davis as the Raiders next general manager is the Packers director of football operations, Reggie McKenzie, who has been a key cog in Green Bay's success. But Oakland cannot hire McKenzie during the season.
Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.