Kiffin can take encouragement from Fox, Gruden

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Oakland's firing of Lane Kiffin may be an AFC West story, but it brings to mind two current NFC South head coaches.

Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden and Carolina's John Fox have done just fine since getting away from Al Davis' dysfunctional empire. Gruden won a Super Bowl and Fox has been to one.

The fact that neither of them could stand to be with Davis any longer and they both have moved on to better things should provide some encouragement for Kiffin. He'll get another coaching job, whether it's in the NFL or at the college level.

There is no shame in clashing with Davis. In fact, it's a badge of honor. I remember when Fox was on the verge of being hired by the Panthers in 2002. I asked an NFL executive if Fox's mysterious departure from his spot as Oakland's defensive coordinator raised a red flag. The executive said the fact Fox didn't see eye-to-eye with Davis would be viewed as a plus by many around the league.

Fox had to pay his dues, first as a consultant for the Rams and, later, as defensive coordinator for the Giants, but he's done just fine. So has Gruden. He got himself "traded" out of Oakland and beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl the next season.