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#pounditWednesday, May 25, 2022

Articles tagged: Jon Gruden

Raiders surprisingly keeping coach with strong Jon Gruden ties

Jon Gruden in a Raiders hat

The Las Vegas Raiders announced their full coaching staff on Monday, and the announcement included a somewhat surprising name.

The Raiders are retaining Deuce Gruden, the son of former head coach Jon Gruden, as a strength and conditioning coach for 2022. The younger Gruden spent the previous two years on the Raiders’ staff, having joined from a previous stint in Washington.

The elder Gruden abruptly resigned last season after damaging emails he sent several years ago emerged publicly. Gruden is now taking the NFL to court over his termination. Given the circumstances of Gruden’s exit, the Raiders might have been tempted to let Deuce move on as well.

On the other hand, given how the Raiders felt about the Gruden email leaks, this might not be that surprising after all. Plus, Deuce Gruden should be evaluated based on his own merits as a coach. The Raiders are clearly happy with him if they’re keeping him around.

Photo: Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden takes the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

NFL files to dismiss Jon Gruden lawsuit, says there were more emails

Jon Gruden smiles

Jon Gruden filed a lawsuit against the NFL back in November claiming the league intentionally leaked his private emails in order to ruin his career. The NFL immediately responded by denying the allegations, and they have now backed up that denial with a court filing.

The NFL filed a motion to dismiss Gruden’s lawsuit in Nevada this week, according to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic. In the filing, the league’s attorneys argue that Gruden sent offensive emails to at least five other recipients besides former Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen.

“Gruden sent a variety of similarly abhorrent emails to a half dozen recipients over a seven-year period, in which he denounced ‘the emergence of women as referees,’ and frequently used homophobic and sexist slurs to refer to Commissioner Goodell, then-Vice President Joseph Biden, a gay professional football player drafted in 2014, and others,” the NFL’s attorneys wrote in the filing.

The emails that led to Gruden’s resignation leaked as part of an investigation into workplace misconduct with the Washington Football Team. In one of them, Gruden mocked NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith over the size of his lips. More emails leaked days later in which Gruden used a gay slur and other problematic language.

In the motion to dismiss, the NFL argues that the emails were damaging to both Gruden and the league. The league also says the emails, which it insists were not intentionally leaked, “would have and could have permitted the Commissioner himself to sanction and fire Gruden.”

More than 650,000 emails were reviewed as part of the WFT investigation, but the NFL has reportedly claimed Gruden’s were the only damaging ones.

The lawsuit from Gruden may not be the only one the NFL faces over the situation.

Photo: Aug 18, 2021; Thousand Oaks, CA, USA; Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden during a joint practice against the Los Angeles Rams. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders player explains why Rich Bisaccia was better for team than Jon Gruden

Jon Gruden in a Raiders hat

The Las Vegas Raiders were 3-2 when Jon Gruden was forced to abruptly resign over his leaked email scandal. Very few people gave them a chance to contend after that, but interim head coach Rich Bisaccia navigated through an incredibly difficult season en route to a playoff berth. At least one Raiders player believes Gruden’s departure actually helped the team.

An anonymous Raiders player told NFL insider Michael Silver that he believes the team played so well down the stretch because they didn’t have Gruden pushing them.

“We didn’t have Gruden grinding us late in the year,” the veteran player said. “Gruden would kill us, and we would fall apart. The reason this team played so well down the stretch is that Rich listened to the players and took it easy over the back half of the season.”

The Raiders won their first two games after Gruden stepped down. They then dealt with another major scandal, as wide receiver Henry Ruggs was involved in a drunk driving accident that killed a woman. Las Vegas won just one of its next six games after that before turning things around to reach the postseason.

All of that reflects well on Bisaccia’s leadership. He has already proven he can get players to buy in during difficult times, which is no easy feat in the NFL. There may be something to what the anonymous player said, too. As Silver notes, the Raiders finished 2-4, 1-5 and 2-5 in their previous three seasons under Gruden.

Derek Carr and other Raiders veterans have been outspoken in endorsing Bisaccia for the full-time head coach position. There have been indications that owner Mark Davis is targeting a much bigger name, but Bisaccia has certainly built a strong case.

Photo: Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden takes the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Brent Musburger blasts NFL over Jon Gruden situation

Jon Gruden in a Raiders hat

Jon Gruden recently filed a lawsuit against the NFL over his leaked email scandal, and one legendary broadcaster seems to think the former Las Vegas Raiders coach had a strong case.

Brent Musburger, the former voice of college football who now does radio calls for the Raiders, shared some strong thoughts on the Gruden situation this week. He told J.T. The Brick of the Las Vegas Sports Network that he believes Gruden was the target of a “paid assassin.”

“As I told Coach, whoever took you out, Jon, that was a paid assassin,” Musburger said, via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “That was one of the best hit jobs that I’ve ever been around. They didn’t go to their media goombahs. They didn’t leak this to Adam Schefter or one of those guys that breaks stories. They first went to the Wall Street Journal. And when Gruden was still coaching after that, then they dumped the rest of it on the New York Times. That was a professional hit job.”

Gruden stepped down as head coach of the Raiders several weeks ago after two rounds of his offensive personal emails leaked. He filed a lawsuit against the NFL that accuses the league of intentionally releasing the emails at a time that would inflict maximum damage. Gruden also says the NFL threatened to release the second batch of emails if the first leak didn’t cost him his job.

Musburger isn’t convinced that the leak came from the NFL, as he mentioned that the Washington Football Team also had access to the emails. However, he said it would be shameful if the NFL were responsible.

“So I think the hardest part for Gruden’s lawyers to prove is that somebody from the National Football League actually leaked that,” Musburger added. “Because if it is somebody from the NFL, shame on them. Because (Raiders owner) Mark Davis should have been told in the summer, when he had something to do about it.”

The emails Gruden sent came from the 2011-2018 time period. They were uncovered during the NFL’s investigation into the Washington Football Team regarding the franchise’s workplace environment. More than 650,000 emails were reviewed as part of the investigation, but the NFL has reportedly claimed Gruden’s were the only damaging ones.

Someone who spoke with Gruden last month said the former coach believes the “truth” will eventually come out.

Photo: Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden takes the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

NFL issues response to Jon Gruden lawsuit

Jon Gruden smiles

Jon Gruden filed a lawsuit against the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday, and the league has wasted little time responding.

After the details of Gruden’s lawsuit surfaced on Friday, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy issued a statement calling the allegations “entirely meritless.”

Gruden’s 21-page lawsuit accuses the NFL and Goodell of leaking damaging emails in order to force him into resigning as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. The 58-year-old’s attorneys say the NFL orchestrated a “Soviet-style character assassination” on Gruden and intentionally withheld the emails for months in order to inflict maximum damage when they were released.

The lawsuit also says the initially NFL leaked one email — the one in which Gruden mocked NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith over the size of his lips — and then threatened to release more if Gruden remained the coach of the Raiders. More emails leaked days later in which Gruden used a gay slur and other problematic language. That’s when he resigned.

Gruden’s emails, which came from the 2011-2018 time period, were uncovered during the NFL’s investigation into workplace misconduct allegations against the Washington Football Team. More than 650,000 emails were reviewed as part of the investigation, but the NFL has reportedly claimed Gruden’s were the only damaging ones. The lawsuit cites that as evidence that Gruden was railroaded.

Someone who spoke with Gruden over a week ago said the former coach believes the “truth” will eventually come out.

The lawsuit may not be the only one the NFL faces over the situation.

Photo: Aug 18, 2021; Thousand Oaks, CA, USA; Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden during a joint practice against the Los Angeles Rams. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Gruden files lawsuit against NFL, Roger Goodell

Jon Gruden in a Raiders hat

There has been speculation that Jon Gruden could file a lawsuit against the NFL since he was forced to resign last month, and the former Las Vegas Raiders coach has done just that.

Gruden filed a lawsuit in Clark County District Court on Thursday that names the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell as defendants. According to documents obtained by David Ferrara of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Gruden’s lawyers claim in the 21-page complaint that the league intentionally leaked damaging emails to force the former Super Bowl champion to step down.

“Through a malicious and orchestrated campaign, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell sought to destroy the career and reputation of Jon Gruden, the former head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit accuses the NFL of leaking the first email and then threatening to release more if Gruden remained in his position as Raiders coach. Gruden says the NFL intentionally withheld the emails for months in order to release them when they could cause maximum damage.

“When their initial salvo did not result in Gruden’s firing or resignation, Defendants ratcheted up the pressure by intimating that further documents would become public if Gruden was not fired,” the lawsuit reads. “They followed through with this threat by leaking another batch of documents to the New York Times for an October 11, 2021 article.”

The first email surfaced on Friday, Oct. 8 in a Wall Street Journal article. In it, Gruden mocked NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith over the size of his lips. The email was described as Gruden using a racist trope against Smith, though the coach disputed that and said he was calling Smith a liar.

More emails leaked days later in a New York Times article. Gruden used a gay slur and other problematic language in those emails.

The emails Gruden sent came from the 2011-2018 time period. They were uncovered during the NFL’s investigation into the Washington Football Team regarding the franchise’s workplace environment. More than 650,000 emails were reviewed as part of the investigation, but the NFL has reportedly claimed Gruden’s were the only damaging ones.

Someone who spoke with Gruden over a week ago said the former coach believes the “truth” will eventually come out.

The lawsuit is not a surprise, and it may not be the only one the NFL faces over the situation.

Photo: Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden takes the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Jon Gruden has received consideration from college programs

Jon Gruden smiles

Jon Gruden will almost certainly never coach in the NFL again after his leaked email scandal. But his email scandal apparently has not prevented him from being discussed as a candidate for potential college jobs.

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora published a story on Sunday regarding the former Las Vegas Raiders head coach. La Canfora’s focus was about how Gruden is considering potential legal action against the NFL.

At the end of his report, La Canfora said that some college programs have discussed Gruden as a possible candidate. Though Gruden isn’t expected to take a college job, La Canfora says some believe Gruden could receive some interest.

Although it sounds highly improbable that a college would hire Gruden given the circumstances that led to his resignation with the Raiders, it’s probably not too surprising for colleges to have interest in him. Even the likes of Art Briles is reportedly receiving support from boosters desperate to win.

It’s easy to see desperate boosters wanting Gruden hired. It’s much harder to see school administrators and some fans approving the hire. It’s even harder to see Gruden successfully recruiting young players, much less actually dropping down to the college ranks.

Gruden hasn’t coached in college in 30 years. At least he is remembered for winning a Super Bowl in the NFL. Why would he risk the last thing he has going for him — a decent legacy on the field as a coach — by going to college and screwing it up?

Gruden is pretty much finished. Whoever leaked the emails made sure of that.

Photo: Aug 18, 2021; Thousand Oaks, CA, USA; Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden during a joint practice against the Los Angeles Rams. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Gruden could sue NFL over email leaks

Jon Gruden in a Raiders hat

There has been talk that Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis could take legal action against the NFL over the way the Jon Gruden emails were leaked. The former head coach might consider taking legal action as well.

Gruden has spoken with several attorneys about his legal options since he resigned as coach of the Raiders, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Some lawyers close to Gruden have advised him that they would be willing to take on a lawsuit against the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell if Gruden wants to go that route.

The NFL insists it did not leak any of the Gruden emails. Gruden’s old emails were discovered as part of the investigation into workplace misconduct with the Washington Football Team. Gruden’s damaging emails were sent between him and former Washington executive Bruce Allen. The league’s investigators reviewed more than 650,000 emails as part of the investigation. Yet, the NFL reportedly claims Gruden’s were the only damaging ones.

According to La Canfora, some attorneys believe Gruden could have a tortious interference case. Gruden was not a league employee at the time the emails were sent, as he was still working with ESPN and “Monday Night Football.” Gruden could try to make a case that the NFL intentionally leaked the emails to inflict damage on his career.

Gruden has not said anything publicly since he announced his resignation in a statement. However, someone who spoke with the 58-year-old said Gruden believes the “truth” will eventually come out. Since there’s really no way to spin what he said in the emails, the “truth” he’s referring to could be the NFL’s role in leaking the emails.

Davis has made it clear that he is unhappy with the NFL over the email leaks. It’s possible both he and Gruden could eventually file lawsuits against the league.

Photo: Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden takes the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders owner Mark Davis had one big issue with Jon Gruden email leak

Mark Davis

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis has made little effort to hide the fact that he is upset about some of the circumstances surrounding Jon Gruden’s resignation. Davis reiterated his stance on Wednesday and said he has one main issue with the NFL’s handling of the situation.

Davis told reporters the Gruden email leaks were a “timing issue” for him. He indicated that he believes the NFL intentionally withheld the information for months.

Davis also said he would like the NFL to release a written report on the Washington Football Team investigation.

Gruden resigned earlier this month after private emails leaked in which he used a gay slur and other offensive language. Davis has condemned the remarks made by his former coach, but he is not the only one who feels like the NFL is hiding something. There were more than 650,000 emails involved in the investigation into workplace misconduct with the WFT. Yet, the NFL has reportedly claimed only the Gruden emails were damaging.

There has been talk of Davis potentially taking legal action against the NFL.

5 biggest surprises of the 2021 NFL season thus far

Jon Gruden

The 2021 NFL regular season is now in Week 7 — boy, does it go by fast — and to say there have been a few surprises that stand out would be an understatement.

Things got off to a fast start league-wide and have not slowed down one bit. Whether it’s on the field or off of the field, the NFL is jam-packed with excitement, drama, and theater.

Here is a look at the five biggest surprises of the 2021 season (so far).

5. Kansas City Chiefs being average

Everything that goes up must eventually come down. The Chiefs are currently living that reality. They’ve split their first six games this season. At 3-3, they find themselves in third place in the AFC West (more on that division to come). But beyond just the .500 record, several of their superstar players are underperforming. Case in point: quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The former league MVP already has nine turnovers on the season, three shy of his career high. He has four interceptions over the past two games combined (don’t tell his mom). The Chiefs’ -8 turnover ratio is the second-worst in football. Defensively, KC is also allowing over 410 yards per game and an average of 29.3 points per game. Each of those marks are among the bottom five in the NFL.

4. Derek Carr an early MVP candidate

The Raiders decided to let Derek Carr air it out this season, and his aggression has gone through the roof. Yes, Carr has made some risky throws, and his accuracy is nothing to write home about, but he’s second in the NFL with 1,946 yards and 324.3 yards per game. Carr is also in the top half of the league in touchdown passes (10) and has tossed just four interceptions despite the new chuck-and-duck style. Perhaps more importantly, the Raiders are 4-2 under Carr, are tied for the AFC West lead, and three of their victories have come over teams who won 10-plus games in 2020. Whether or not Carr can keep up this pace remains to be seen, but few saw this start coming.

3. Myles Garrett gunning for all-time records

Through seven weeks, Cleveland Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett has amassed a league-leading eight sacks and is on pace for 23.0, which would be an all-time single-season record. And given how dominant Garrett has been this season, it’s entirely possible that Michael Strahan’s long-standing record finally falls. What makes Garrett’s early-season performance so impressive is that he’s dominating as much against the run as he is the pass. And when he does get home, he finishes. His eight sacks come alongside 17 QB hits and seven hurries, and are coupled with an equally impressive 24 tackles (nine for a loss).

2. Giants defense in shambles

Entering the 2021 regular-season, most believed the Giants would be kept afloat by their defense, which surprised under Patrick Graham a year ago. That has not at all been the case. In fact, the offense has outplayed the defense thus far. Graham’s unit, which plays Cover 2 more than any other team in the league, has taken several steps back. They have been unable to generate any natural pressure. Even when attempting to scheme in pressure, they haven’t hit home. The lack of pressure has allowed opposing quarterbacks to light up their secondary, including cornerback James Bradberry, who was a Pro Bowler in 2020. Not only will this regression take a toll on the organization, it might also cost Graham potential head coaching interest in 2022.

1. Urban Meyer and Jon Gruden

The situations surrounding Urban Meyer and Jon Gruden are very different but equally shocking. Meyer, of course, drew heavy criticism for staying behind in Ohio after his team lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4, only to later be caught on video acting inappropriately with a woman who wasn’t his wife (more here). He survived being fired (or divorced) but it’s certainly an early stain on his NFL career. Gruden, on the other hand, did not survive comments he made in private emails years ago. During an investigation into the Washington Football Team, several Gruden emails containing some ugly comments were discovered. He was immediately canceled, resigned as Raiders head coach, and was removed from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor, where he had previously sat alongside Warren Sapp and others.