Gruden reveals after Raiders' win that he had coronavirus

USA Today

Maybe Rich Bisaccia wasn't joking after all.

After the Raiders' knocked off the New Orleans Saints 34-24 in the first game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, coach Jon Gruden told reporters that he previously had contracted COVID-19.

Why did that come up? In light of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and two other NFL coaches being fined for not wearing a mask on Sunday, reporters questioned Gruden about not covering his face at times during Monday's game.

"I’m doing my best," Gruden told reporters, according to ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. "I’ve had the virus. I’m doing my best. I’m very sensitive about it ... I’m calling plays. I just wanna communicate in these situations and if I get fined I’ll have to pay the fine but I’m very sensitive about that and I apologize."

Later, Gruden told the Bay Area News Group's Jerry McDonald that he had the coronavirus in July and wasn't planning to make the news public.

Back on Aug. 5, NFL Media's Mike Garafolo reported that Bisaccia -- the Raiders’ assistant head coach and special teams coordinator -- tried to show players how serious the coronavirus was by trying to convince them that Gruden had contracted COVID-19 and was in the hospital.

"Bisaccia told them, 'Guys, coach Gruden has COVID, and he's at the hospital now and he's being taken care of,' " Garafolo reported. "... It wasn't a joke. What it was was the team illustrating to the players that this could happen at any moment, to anybody.


"The point to the players was you've got to stay ready, you've got to stay ready," Garafolo said. "... The players really took it to heart from what I've been told, and know going forward that everybody's got to be on the ready because of the world that we are living in right now."

A week later, Gruden addressed the report and denied that Basaccia told the players he had contracted the virus.

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“There was a (report) I faked the virus, which is totally untrue,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I take this as serious as anyone.”