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#pounditFriday, December 2, 2022

Jon Gruden accused of ‘blatant tampering’ over Richard Sherman comments

Jon Gruden

Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden might find himself on hot water over recent podcast comments about Richard Sherman.

Gruden appeared on a recent podcast hosted by Sherman and NBC Sports analyst Cris Collinsworth. Collinsworth noted that Gruden hired former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in the same role on his current staff, suggesting a Sherman connection, but noted that he did not want to get Gruden caught up in another tampering violation.

Gruden jumped on it anyway, openly appealing to Sherman to come play for the Raiders.

“I’ve been fined, I’ve been punished very, very harshly,” Gruden said. “Richard Sherman, if you are a free agent, which there is a rumor you are, we are looking for an alpha presence in our secondary. Somebody that could play this Hawk 3-press technique with the read step. If you’re available and interested, maybe you and I can get together at some point off air.”

The comment, serious or not, has seemingly angered those within the NFL. One general manager told ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio that Gruden’s remarks represent “blatant tampering.”

By the wording of the league’s rules, Gruden clearly violated the letter of the law. Though Sherman can become a free agent in March, he is still formally under contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Gruden’s public statement of interest is a clear violation of the league’s tampering rules, especially speaking directly to Sherman like that.

Gruden already ran afoul of NFL rules once this season. It’s up to the NFL whether it opens an investigation, but this one seems like a pretty obvious rules violation. In fact, given how blatant it was — and how tampering was brought up to Gruden immediately before he made the comments — the NFL might try to come down on the Raiders coach pretty strongly here.

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