Knoxville product Reggie McKenzie filling legendary shoes with Raiders

Reggie McKenzie works the phone for the Green Bay packers on draft day in 2010.

Photo by Associated Press

Reggie McKenzie works the phone for the Green Bay packers on draft day in 2010.

Reggie McKenzie's rise through the football ranks is now headed to one of the top positions in the game.

Starting at Austin-East High School and continuing through his playing career at Tennessee and a handful of stops as an NFL linebacker before working 18 years in the front office for Green Bay, McKenzie is now going to fill the void left by the legendary Al Davis.

Oakland officially tabbed McKenzie, 48, as its general manager on Friday, giving the organization a new full-time director of personnel after years of leadership from the late Davis, who died in October at age 82.

Citing a source not authorized to speak publicly about the decision, The Associated Press reported that the former Vols standout and two-way star at Austin-East would take over immediately and leave his post with the Packers before the playoffs even begin for the defending champs.

The Raiders will hold a news conference for their new hire on Tuesday with additional details of the move, which should give McKenzie many of the duties in terms of making draft picks and signing players that were long held by Davis.

"Reggie is a tremendous evaluator," Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in November. "He can tell you who can play and who can't play. That's what it's all about. Some can write reports but can't tell you who can play.

"Whatever that is, he has that. He has a feel."

McKenzie has honed that skill for nearly two decades with the Packers, where he was most recently the director of football operations for a team that won a pair of Super Bowls while he was part of the franchise and is contending for another this year.

It was certainly built on the field as well, with the Raiders using a 10th-round pick in 1985 on McKenzie after his career with the Vols ended and making him a starter right away as he earned all-rookie honors on defense.

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Comments » 8

johnnyvol writes:

Just goes to show everybody that hard work goes along way.Best of luck to a life long Vol.

iowavol writes:

One of the first to come to Fulmer's defense. The guy knows football. Living up here in Packer land, I can tell you that most folks give Reggie a lot of the credit for building the team into the offensive machine it is. Defense is of course missing a few key players.

AncientVolFan writes:

Let's see Reggie McKenzie defends Fulmer on one side. John Adams attacks him on the other side. Let me weight that. Who's judgment to trust most?

VOLinMAHWAH writes:

in response to AncientVolFan:

Let's see Reggie McKenzie defends Fulmer on one side. John Adams attacks him on the other side. Let me weight that. Who's judgment to trust most?

EXACTLY!!

jkreis#632254 writes:

I wondered why Reggie's name didn't come up when we were searching for an AD. Here's a great example of a Tennessee Grad, knox - native no less, with a stellar background that has always demonstrated an unquestioned love for UT and would be a great hire. There's nothing wrong with a fresh approach from outside the family but it's also nice to have a Tennessee man who knows football without question. I hope Dave Hart turns out to be one of our best AD's ever but I also hope Reggie is on the short list the next time around.

rclarkvols#224537 writes:

in response to jkreis#632254:

I wondered why Reggie's name didn't come up when we were searching for an AD. Here's a great example of a Tennessee Grad, knox - native no less, with a stellar background that has always demonstrated an unquestioned love for UT and would be a great hire. There's nothing wrong with a fresh approach from outside the family but it's also nice to have a Tennessee man who knows football without question. I hope Dave Hart turns out to be one of our best AD's ever but I also hope Reggie is on the short list the next time around.

You may want to compare the salaries of a college Ad versus an NFL GM.

tnbigg writes:

Congratulations Reggie! I remember him and Raleigh at The Caswell Avenue Boy's Club when I worked there a million years ago and later at The University of Tennessee. They were incredible as kids and grew into awesome men!

tnbigg writes:

in response to rclarkvols#224537:

You may want to compare the salaries of a college Ad versus an NFL GM.

Spot on. Not only salary, but incredible prestige that goes along with an incredible new position for Reggie. What an honor for him. All his hard work and commitment to excellence paid off for him. Very impressive. Humble beginnings to exceptional success.

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