Jon Gruden emotional about making 'hard' final Raiders roster cuts

Jon Gruden emotional about making 'hard' final Raiders roster cuts

SEATTLE – The NFL preseason’s end is generally cause for celebration. The exhibition season is largely fruitless, with games devoid of star talent and quality play.

We’re finally ready to move on to games that count, and that’s a good thing for most.

Not for Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, who has some tough choices and conversations ahead before Saturday’s roster cuts.

“This is all pretty emotional, really. You hate to the see the preseason end,” Gruden said after Thursday’s 17-15 loss to Seattle at CenturyLink Field. “We’re excited about the regular season, but what we have in store with these cuts is very, very hard. You get attached to these guys. I really like this team. We have some tough decisions to make.”

The Raiders have more qualified candidates than roster spots available, meaning some solid players will hit the waiver wire on Saturday afternoon.

Making choices at receiver and defensive tackle should be particularly challenging. Gruden has to declare position battle victors at fullback and guard and cornerback, with other choices already made.

Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock will start sorting out final issues to form the 53-man roster, with an eye on the waiver wire and an understanding that more turnover is in the cards this week.

“We’re not just evaluating our players. We’re evaluating players from around the league,” Gruden said. “…I’m not going to speculate here at the podium. We have to look at the tape and we have to sit down as a staff. Certainly Mike and I will do that on the way home and go from there.”

While most preseason headlines followed Antonio Brown’s feet and helmet issues, the Raiders progressed steadily during a productive training camp and preseason. Gruden didn’t play impact players much in games – only a few played the last two weeks – but the Silver and Black got better and grew together as a squad.

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“Getting out of the preseason healthy was a big goal we had,” Gruden said. “We got a lot accomplished on the practice field. We had a good few days against the Rams [in joint practices]. We saw the emergence of some young players. Our draft picks, and several players who weren’t drafted have a chance to make this team. We might have 12, 13, 14 rookies wearing the silver and black this year. We had to develop young players. I compliment the coaches and players for making that happen.”

Raiders discussing fan options at Allegiant as 2020 NFL season nears


Raiders discussing fan options at Allegiant as 2020 NFL season nears

As the NFL regular season approaches, assuming the rise in COVID-19 cases doesn’t cancel it, the Raiders are having ongoing internal discussions about a number of different options and approaches for a rabid season-ticket base that completely sold out brand new Allegiant Stadium.

As the Raiders continue to sort through the situation, they have indefinitely pushed back the deadline for final payment on 2020 season tickets. Meanwhile, longtime Raiders fans like Kenny King Jr., a Northern California resident and 2020 season-ticket holder, is holding out hope he will be front and center when the Raiders play their first season in Las Vegas.

“I definitely do intend to go to games this year and have already booked for the opener and Chiefs games,” said King, the son of former Raiders running back Kenny King.

Read more at the Las Vegas Review-Journal


Catching up on 'Sports Uncovered': Behind-the-scenes, untold stories

NBC Sports

Catching up on 'Sports Uncovered': Behind-the-scenes, untold stories

Want to hear behind-the-scenes, untold stories about iconic athletes or moments in sports? You've come to the right place. 

That is the exact premise of NBC Sports' Sports Uncovered podcast.

Four such untold stories have been covered so far. Missed any of them? Not to worry, you can catch up here.

You better get a move on, because next Thursday, July 9, a fifth episode will be released on the disappearance of Barret Robbins at Super Bowl 37. You won't want to miss it.

Sports Uncovered is available in the MyTeams app and all podcasting platforms: AppleStitcherSpotifyGoogle PodcastsTuneIn and iHeart.

Check out the latest podcast embedded below.

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