Jon Gruden might seem like a badass — after all, his nickname his Chucky for crying out loud — but he has a sensitive side that most people probably don’t see. As the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Gruden is tough on his players, but he shared a story today with Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area that showed he’s not always so rough and tough when it comes to football. In fact, Jon Gruden even cries.
That’s what Bair reported Jon Gruden told him when asked how he reacted in the days following the trade of former Raiders stud defender Khalil Mack, which, you know, is probably the same reaction Oakland fans had when they saw the sack-master shipped off to the Chicago Bears prior to the 2018 season starting. Take a look at what Bair tweeted out.
The Mack trade was a franchise killer, signaling to Raiders fans that the team was going into full-blown rebuild mode. And, while the deal reportedly earned the praise from analytics people because of the bevy of picks that Oakland got from Chicago in return for the All-Pro Mack, the fact of the matter is that the guy was a once-in-a-generation talent, so Jon Gruden took it hard knowing that he a) wouldn’t be coaching him and b) had to do the difficult (and unpopular) thing by trading him away.
Even just last month, Jon Gruden told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle that he was “still sensitive about” moving on from Khalil Mack, who earned the 2016 Defensive Player of the Year Award. Even worse, considering the Raiders ended up with a pathetic 4-12 record and lacked a pass rush all season long, while Mack helped guide his Bears to the playoffs while totaling 12.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and an interception return for a touchdown, it has to hurt Jon Gruden even more knowing that he could have had that type of production and leadership on his defense.