Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt interviewed for the Raiders' head coaching opening with managing general partner Al Davis shortly after the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl at the conclusion of the 2005 season.
Whisenhunt, then Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator, said he boarded a plane right after the Steelers' parade in downtown Pittsburgh.
"It was a great experience," Whisenhunt said in a conference call with Bay Area media Wednesday in advance of Sunday's home game against the Raiders. "It was my first interview, and I learned a tremendous amount. I felt like it made me better, and I was glad to have that opportunity."
Davis ultimately settled upon Art Shell after telling Whisenhunt that he wouldn't have full control over his coaching staff and personnel matters. Whisenhunt remained with the Steelers. One season later, Davis passed on the opportunity to interview Whisenhunt after he fired Shell.
Whisenhunt interviewed with the Miami Dolphins, Steelers and Atlanta Falcons before he was hired by the Cardinals. Davis offered the job in 2007 to Steve Sarkisian, who turned it down. Davis then turned to Lane Kiffin.
Whisenhunt guided the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl in his second season. The Raiders went 5-11 that season under Kiffin and his replacement, Tom Cable.
Left guard Robert Gallery (hamstring) and linebacker Travis Goethel (back) also won't play. Running back Michael Bush (thumb) is cleared to make his 2010 debut. He will split time with Darren McFadden, Cable said.
Defensive tackle John Henderson (foot), cornerback Chris Johnson (ankle) and safety Hiram Eugene (leg) are questionable.
The Raiders already had a stable of receivers at the time, with Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Ronald Curry and Jerry Porter, so they decided to address a more pressing need in the draft.
Fitzgerald said he didn't have strong feelings one way or the other about the prospect of playing for the Raiders.
"At that time, I was just elated to have the opportunity to play in the NFL," Fitzgerald said in a conference call. "I couldn't have cared less where I would be playing football. I just knew that I was about to embark on my lifelong dream, and that was to play professionally."
Gallery and Fitzgerald were considered by many as can't-miss prospects. Gallery didn't pan out as a left tackle but has found success at guard. Fitzgerald has been selected to four Pro Bowls and made first-team All-Pro in 2008.
Fitzgerald has never played against the Raiders in a regular-season game. He missed the game in 2006 because of an injury.