HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — The Las Vegas Raiders hired Tom Telesco on Tuesday as their next general manager, passing over interim Champ Kelly for the position.
Kelly could remain as the assistant general manager, the position he held under Dave Ziegler, who was fired Oct. 31. Kelly then was given the interim title and was believed to be a strong candidate to get the job full time.
Telesco, 51, comes from the AFC West rival Los Angeles Chargers, where he was the general manager since 2013. The Chargers fired Telesco and coach Brandon Staley on Dec. 15, a day after Los Angeles lost 63-21 at Las Vegas.
Telesco drafted eight Pro Bowl players, including quarterback Justin Herbert, wide receiver Keenan Allen and defensive end Joey Bosa. But the Chargers went 86-95 during his tenure, making the playoffs three times and never winning a divisional title.
He hired three first-year coaches, so going to the Raiders will be familiar in that way for Telesco. Antonio Pierce had the interim title removed Friday, making him the full-time coach.
Telesco’s top priority will be deciding what to do at quarterback. Rookie Aidan O’Connell became the starter when Pierce took over, and though he led the Raiders to a 5-4 record over that time, his inconsistency created real doubts that he was the franchise quarterback.
The Raiders pick 13th in this year’s draft, which likely puts them outside the range of getting a top quarterback unless they trade up. Las Vegas also could stay put and perhaps select Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. if he’s still on the draft board.
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