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Marvin Lewis' decades of coaching experience look to benefit Raiders in a big way

Marvin Lewis still remembers a young, ambitious Antonio Pierce trying to intensify the energy into their defense.

Pierce took his first coaching job at the college level at Arizona State University, serving as linebackers coach under Marvin Lewis who was the team's defensive coordinator.

After a less than desirable practice with the Sun Devils, the linebacker turned coach approached Lewis with a small suggestion.

"I think the guys need to run today after practice," Lewis said, recalling what Pierce told him. "I said, 'OK, let's just make sure we don't kill them.' ... He's really conscious of the physical condition of the players and making sure we get all of our right guys to the gate. I think that's really important as a head coach in the NFL."

The positions have now flipped for Pierce and Lewis. The former linebackers coach is now at the head of the table for the Raiders. Lewis, the head coach for the Cincinnati Bengals for 16 seasons before his stint at ASU, is serving as the Silver and Black's assistant head coach. Having known each other from Pierce's early NFL days where Lewis coached Pierce as a player at Washington, Lewis could be considered Pierce's "sensei" in coaching – always providing guidance for his protégé or anyone else in the locker room.

Pierce has been vocal that he'll have to learn from others that've been in places he's trying to go as a first-year head coach. And according to Lewis, this has come with no ego.

"He's not stuck on himself that way," Lewis said. "He wants to hear other people's point of views and so forth that way, and that's good. But he has a great direction himself as a leader. He takes responsibility for providing direction and reinforcing it each and every day."

Lewis said there was no hesitancy in joining the staff after Pierce offered him a full-time position. Being close to his family in Scottsdale, Arizona, was one enticing factor. The main draw was, of course, the opportunity to help his former player execute his vision into making the Raiders a physical and winning team.

"I define the role as kind of speak when spoken to," said Lewis. "I'm here to support them, and anything I can do that way as well as the squad, the players. But that's the thing that's important to me that I try to keep things leveled out for them as much as I can.

"I think I've benefited from having the opportunity to work for two guys who became head coaches for the first time, Brian Billick and Bill Cowher, and then Coach [Steve] Spurrier, who had been a head coach but the first time in the National Football League. I think those were helpful to me when I got the opportunity to become a head coach. And hopefully, I can help benefit AP as well that way."

View photos from day four of the Las Vegas Raiders' OTAs at Intermountain Health Performance Center.

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