Jon Gruden is no longer the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. However, his team remains.
On Wednesday, for the first time since Gruden’s shocking resignation from the team Monday night because of the disclosure of offensive emails he sent, the team came together for work. Team leaders addressed the media and it was clear that the emotional weight of the saga is weighing heavy on those whom Gruden left behind.
Derek Carr said he feels: “Sad, I’m feeling anger. I am human and I’m trying my best, to just focus on football, as hard as it is. I try to keep my mind as focused as I can or I’ll start drifting. It is just weird. That’s the best way to say it. It’s a weird time ... It’s the biggest story in sports right now. You turn on the TV and it’s on.
“Again, I’m sad for the people who were hurt. Sad for (Gruden). I’m sad for our fans ... You hate the action, but you love the person that’s why it’s so hard. He’s not around. It’s over. He’s not going to be around.”
Las Vegas owner Mark Davis, general manager Mike Mayock and interim coach Rich Bisaccia also addressed the team on Wednesday morning. Then, they went to work. After practice (which Bisaccia and Carr said went well) the new coach, quarterback, tight end Darren Waller and defensive end Maxx Crosby met with the media. All were solemn, but all agreed that they are prepared to make a playoff push and they are in good shape at 3-2 heading into a game at the Denver Broncos on Sunday. That echoed Mayock’s comments from his press conference Wednesday morning.
Everyone who talked made it clear that Gruden’s emails were nor acceptable, but they also expressed love for him.
“We have a lot on our plate,” Waller said. “I have a lot of emotions. It’s OK to be stressed.” Added Crosby: “In a hard time like this, we all have to bond together. This group is a super tight knit group. It’s been a crazy week, to say, the least. But we have the same mission. These last 48 hours have been super tough. Personally, I’ve been affected. But we have to keep everyone locked in.”
Bisaccia said this situation is “a bump in the road, but not the end of the road.” He added that he is confident the team can bounce back from this moment and finish strong.
It was clear from hearing all of these figures talk, that the pain from the Gruden saga is real. But the Raiders are also grateful for a chance to get back on the field Sunday and come together.