<
>

Biletnikoff retires after 32-year association with Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff retired Wednesday as the Oakland Raiders' wide receivers coach after spending more than three decades as a player and coach for the franchise.

Biletnikoff, who is second in team history with 589 career catches, spent the past 18 seasons on the Raiders' coaching staff, the last 10 as receivers coach.

"This is a celebration of a tremendous career that exemplified excellence in all of its phases," Raiders owner Al Davis said. "That excellence will be forever etched in stone in so many halls, but more importantly, his pride, his poise will always be etched in our hearts."

Biletnikoff, who turns 64 on Feb. 23, will stay involved in the organization in his retirement and also spend time working with his charities.

"I am now embarking on another chapter and hope that these coming years bring as much joy and accomplishment as the previous years," he said. "I'm excited about this new direction in my life and continuing to being a part of the Raider family."

Biletnikoff had a trying season in 2006 as the Raiders finished an NFL-worst 2-14. The coaching staff clashed with receivers Jerry Porter and Randy Moss, with Porter being suspended for two games for insubordination and Moss suggesting he would be better off on another team.

The poor season led to the firing of head coach Art Shell, Biletnikoff's former teammate. Lane Kiffin was hired last week as the new head coach.

"Fred's contribution to this organization is legendary, both as a player and as a coach, and should forever be appreciated ..." Kiffin said. "I look forward to his invaluable insight as we move forward into an exciting future with our football team."

Biletnikoff is one of the greatest receivers ever to play for the Raiders, winning MVP honors in the Super Bowl following the 1976 season, a 32-14 Oakland victory over Minnesota. He spent his entire 14-year playing career in Oakland.

He finished with 8,974 yards receiving, 76 touchdown receptions and played in four Pro Bowls. Biletnikoff led the NFL with 61 receptions in 1971. He was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988.

He also played in three American Football League and five AFC title games, as well as two Super Bowls. He caught 70 passes for 1,167 yards and 10 touchdowns in the postseason.

He played in college at Florida State, and the award for the nation's top college receiver bears his name.