With local and national media gathered to hear from the Raiders interim head coach, Antonio Pierce walked in the room with a purpose.
As he sat next to Interim General Manager Champ Kelly, Pierce addressed not only the media, but Raider Nation for the first time with a fire in his eyes. The same fire he used when staring down opponents for nine NFL seasons as a player.
Pierce was named to the interim position after the team parted ways with Josh McDaniels on Tuesday night. The former linebacker admitted the situation was humbling, considering he's gone from preparing linebacker notes for practice to leading the entire team within 24 hours.
"It's been a whirlwind, I'll be honest. You're not prepared for this. I was doing my DC notes the other day, and all of a sudden you get a phone call. Are you crazy to turn down this opportunity to work with Champ Kelly? No. To work with the players and staff we've got?
"We have the team. We have the people in this building, we have the players in this building to win. We've just got to go do it."
Pierce made his intentions know right from the jump.
"It's a new day, it's a new chapter, it's a new era, it's a new mindset," he said. "What is that mindset? It's that of the Raider pride, the commitment to excellence, and making sure our alumni, our fanbase and Raider Nation are proud of what they see on the field."
"We're tired of losing. It's not a good feeling," he added. "We're a production-based business. We're about competition, being competitive and playing with an edge and a swag and a certain confidence that when we walk out that damn tunnel, that everybody watching TV can see it and the product on the field is something we're proud of."
Pierce brings with him 10 years of coaching experience, including having served as head coach for his hometown's Long Beach Poly High School and as defensive coordinator at Arizona State University before joining the Silver and Black in 2022.
His transition to the Raiders was seamless, as the Compton, California, native grew up cheering for the team he's now tasked with leading.
"I was born a Raider," he said. "I was born with the Raiders rolling into the Coliseum in L.A. I was rolling with N.W.A, talking 'Straight Outta Compton,' rocking Raiders hats. So when the opportunity came to work with Josh [McDaniels], and Patrick Graham and Dave [Ziegler] – i jumped on it. That's what set me up for this. I was born this way."
Regardless of what's to come this season, Pierce is fully prepared to go to battle with his squad this Sunday against the New York Giants – the team he won a Super Bowl with in the 2007 season.
What's his message to his roster going into first game as head coach?
"[I]t's us against the world. That's our mentality right now. Us against the world. Raider Nation against everybody else."
View director of photography Michael Clemens' top picks of black and white photos from the Raiders' Week 8 matchup against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.