Chucky’s back! Gruden flashes old self in return to sideline
Jon Gruden jawed at the officials, worked closely with the quarterbacks and was once again adored by the Oakland Raiders’ fans.
It was as if he had never left the Coliseum.
Gruden was a winner in his return to the sideline for Oakland when the Raiders got a touchdown pass from Connor Cook in a 16-10 exhibition victory over the Detroit Lions on Friday night.
“It was awesome,” Gruden said. “I saw some recognizable faces that had gotten a little bit older. I saw some old friends who mean a lot to me. Like I said all along, this is a great responsibility. The nostalgia has worn off. We have to do something with the opportunity. But it was sure great to see the Raiders fans.”
Gruden was welcomed back warmly to the Coliseum for his first game here as Raiders coach since beating the Jets in a playoff game Jan. 12, 2001. Gruden was traded to Tampa Bay after that season and spent the past nine years as an ESPN analyst.
Raiders owner Mark Davis lured Gruden back to the sideline with a 10year contract worth a reported $100 million following a disappointing six-win season under Jack Del Rio.
The Gruden era appeared to get off to a rousing start when Marshawn Lynch ran 60 yards for a touchdown on the third snap, but the score was called back because of a holding penalty on rookie tackle Kolton Miller.
“I was really ticked off after watching that get called back,” Gruden said. “Chucky came out for a brief moment tonight.”
Oakland settled for a punt on the only drive with starting quarterback Derek Carr but scored three times in five drives with Cook at the helm. Anthem – Lynch once again sat during the national anthem. He sat for the anthem all of last season but never gave a reason for his decision. No other players on either team demonstrated during the anthem, with the Lions all standing together with locked arms. Rookies – Raiders secondround pick P.J. Hall got a sack and batted down a pass in the first half. Oakland undrafted free agent Chris Warren III ran 13 times for 86 yards.
Jon Gruden saw old friends at Friday night’s exhibition opener, and fans at the Coliseum caught a glimpse of the old “Chucky.”