Hall of Famer Lofton joins Raiders coaching staff

Hall of Famer James Lofton officially joined the Oakland Raiders coaching staff on Wednesday, taking over as the team's new receivers coach.

Lofton interviewed last week with coach Lane Kiffin and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp before negotiating a contract with owner Al Davis.

Lofton, who played two seasons for the Raiders during his career, had interviewed the past two seasons to be the team's coach, but lost out to Art Shell in 2006 and Kiffin a year ago.

Lofton had spent the past six seasons as wide receivers coach for the Chargers before being fired last month after San Diego's loss to New England in the AFC championship game.

The addition of Lofton is the first major change on Kiffin's coaching staff for his second season. Kiffin's status on the Raiders was in question after reports that Davis had asked him to resign following a 4-12 season. The Raiders have denied the report and Kiffin has said he “hopes” to be the coach in 2008.

The Raiders are looking for significant improvement from their receiving corps. Kiffin was unhappy with the progress Ronald Curry made under former receivers coach Charles Coe, who will be reassigned.

Curry led the team with 55 catches for 717 yards and five touchdowns, but had only 11 receptions in the final five games. Jerry Porter had 44 catches for 705 yards and six scores, but is eligible to be a free agent.

No other wide receiver had more than 10 catches on the season, with third-round pick Johnnie Lee Higgins getting only six in his rookie season.

Lofton was the sixth overall pick out of Stanford in the 1978 draft by Green Bay and spent his first nine seasons in the NFL with the Packers. He later played for the Raiders, Buffalo, the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003 with 764 career catches for 14,004 yards. He played in eight Pro Bowls.

Josh Dubow, Associated Press

NFLOakland Raiders & NFLsports

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