ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -The Oakland Raiders were close to finalizing an agreement with Hall of Famer James Lofton to join the team's staff as receivers coach on Thursday.
The Raiders rejected a report that embattled coach Lane Kiffin was kept out of the loop regarding the status of negotiations with Lofton, who was interviewed for the head coaching job the past two times the organization had openings.
Kiffin, who interviewed Lofton on Monday, did not want to publicly address the situation, the team said.
``It is not accurate that Lane was not involved,'' Raiders senior executive John Herrera said. ``I talked to Lane and he called the report untrue. He was totally in the loop. He was the first to interview him.''
Herrera said that after Lofton interviewed with Kiffin and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp on Monday, owner Al Davis began negotiating a contract with his former receiver. Herrera said that the deal is close to being finished and that receivers coach Charles Coe will be reassigned once it is.
Last week, the Raiders denied that Davis had asked Kiffin to resign after one season and a 4-12 record.
ESPN, citing unidentified sources, reported that Davis drew up a resignation letter for Kiffin two weeks ago, but the coach refused to sign it. Kiffin has two years left on the contract he signed last January.
Lofton lost out on the Raiders' top job to Art Shell in 2006 and to Kiffin last year.
Lofton was fired as the San Diego Chargers' wide receivers coach on Jan. 22 after the team lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game. He had been with the Chargers six seasons and had one season remaining on his contract, working as wide receivers coach since 2002 - when he was hired by then-coach Marty Schottenheimer.
Lofton played 16 seasons, catching 764 passes for 75 touchdowns and a then-record 14,004 yards. He was a four-time All-Pro, made eight Pro Bowls and played in three Super Bowls with the Buffalo Bills. He played for Green Bay, the Raiders, Buffalo, the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia.

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