On Thursday, the Raiders played the first preseason game of the Josh McDaniels era freshman. This would have been Jon Gruden’s fifth year back with the team.
And, yes, but for the emails that leaked last October to the media, Gruden would still coach the Raiders. He had survived three non-playoff seasons. Given that interim coach Rich Bisaccia took Gruden’s team to the wildcard round after Gruden left, Gruden would surely have gotten there on his own. And even if he hadn’t, it would have taken owner Mark Davis a long time to fire the man to whom Davis had become more of a sidekick than boss.
Gruden’s agent Bob Lamonte recently spoke to JoeBucsFan.com’s Ira Kaufman about the former Bucs and Raiders coach, among other things. And Lamonte thinks Gruden will be coaching again — presumably in the NFL.
“I truly believe in my heart and soul that he will coach again,” Lamonte said. “I would be very surprised if he didn’t. My question is what did Jon really do? Most people would not want their private emails from 10 days ago viewed. That’s why if this were to go to trial, it would be devastating to the National Football League. »
It’s a disturbing clue from Lamonte, suggesting that Gruden may try a good-for-the-goose-good-for-jars approach of looking at emails sent by others in and around the league over the past decade.
‘It wasn’t good for anyone,’ Lamonte said of the fact that a small number of emails Gruden sent to former Washington leader Bruce Allen leaked to the media at one point. where everything else regarding the investigation into the Daniel Snyder franchise was, and still is, largely shrouded in secrecy. “That’s why he ended up suing the NFL and [Commissioner Roger] Goodell – because everyone knows it was wrong. You have 650,000 emails and his six have been selected. . . and he wasn’t even in the league. He prevailed in court and he will prevail again.
Gruden won in court on the preliminary issue of whether the case should go to arbitration. The NFL will no doubt appeal this as far and as long as possible, delaying the case not months but years. Eventually, if the case remains in court, the identity of the lessor will be revealed. Although Gruden thinks it was Goodell, others think it was Snyder. The universe of potential suspects is limited, because few people have had access to the information.
That the emails were leaked and when they were leaked continues to seem wrong, regardless of whether Gruden’s language was bad enough to deserve the result he suffered. It shouldn’t have happened like that when it happened.
“He was in shock and I was worried for him when it first broke out because it was a gunshot in the dark in the middle of the night,” Lamonte said. “I think the hardest thing for him was that it was mid-October. . . . Supposedly all of this information was known in August. Why now, of all things, does this come out of an investigation that had already disappeared?”
The information was actually known, as we heard, in June. Well enough before the season to deal with it well before training camp opens, giving the Raiders a fair chance to replace Gruden and making the whole thing less sudden and less dramatic for everyone involved.
Lamonte chose to go further than complaining about the timing. This is when it becomes much more difficult to defend Gruden.
“That was 10 years ago,” Lamonte said. “And then why Jon and why the Raiders? He wasn’t even in the league at the time of those emails. . . this is the drama. You can say what you want, but if anyone really understands Jon, they know he’s not racist. It’s pretty obvious. No one would ever say that. . . . The biggest thing that drew him in was that Jon had called Roger Goodell a part of the female body that was wrong. I guess he made bad comments about the Glazers, but you have to realize he had just been fired by the Bucs and he thought he was on private emails. A lot of people when they’re fired say bad things.
Lamonte ultimately used the same term that former Raiders radio play-by-play announcer Brent Musberger uttered last year when discussing the matter – Lamonte called it a “hit job.” on Gruden.
“It hurt him a lot,” Lamonte said. “Jon will tell you he’s a boring guy. The guy watches movies all day, that’s what he does. He’s basically a football addict and you took it away from him. His family has been destroyed, his wife answers questions, his son works for the team.
Gruden apparently still wants to work for one of 30 teams other than the Buccaneers and Raiders.
“I think Jon looks younger, happier and better now,” Lamonte said. “He’s an infinitely rich person and the irony of this lawsuit is that everyone says he’s going to make a fortune, he doesn’t really need the money. All Jon Gruden wants is to find his life – and he’s going to get it back.
It’s still hard to imagine. Besides the emails, he sued the league and its commissioner. While it is legally wrong to retaliate against Gruden for this, there are too few head coaching jobs and far too many qualified candidates. It will be very easy for teams to give the 59-year-old future head coach the cold shoulder.
Also, let’s not lose sight of the fact that he struggled in his three years back with the Raiders. It appeared that, in many ways, the game had surpassed him for more than a decade in the stand. All things considered, Lamonte’s assessment of Gruden’s future seems to be much more wishful thinking than an accurate prediction of the future.