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Jon Gruden not sounding very confident Donald Penn and Marshawn Lynch return for Raiders this season

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NFL: International Series-Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Just a quarter of the season is left for the Oakland Raiders and that could be a welcome sight for many in Raider Nation. Fans will be able to officially move on from this season and think about the 2019 NFL draft. However, the limited time left might mean it is time to say good bye to fan favorites like Marshawn Lynch and Donald Penn.

If Penn or Lynch don’t make it back this year, that might be it for them in the Silver and Black considering their ages and injury history.

It was just a week ago Jon Gruden sounded hopeful Penn would be able to return this season. As of Monday, Gruden still liked where Penn was in his rehab, but didn’t sound nearly as confident in his return.

“I don’t know,” Gruden said of the Penn’s status. “He came in the office last week. I think he’s excited about where he is. Maybe we’ll get him on the practice field at some point. I don’t know that we’ll see him this year. It is encouraging to see him getting better and coming close to getting back on the grass.”

He said similar about Lynch.

“I saw Marshawn a couple weeks ago,” said Gruden. “I think he’s getting better, but he’s rehabbing on his own. I know Rod Martin and our staff is keeping a close eye on him. I don’t know if he’ll be back this year either.”

Gruden was asked about his future plans for Penn — who has a year left on his contract — but Gruden spoke like a coach and kept his focus on the Pittsburgh Steelers saying only “We’ll talk about all those things at the end of the year,”

While it would be nice to watch the two veterans return this season, it is much more valuable to see what guys like Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington can do in the backfield in addition to the young pieces at the tackle position.