In many respects, the post-Al Davis Raiders are very different from the team that was run for years by one of the fieriest personalities in sports.
In at least one respect, the Raiders have retained said fire.
Director of Media Relations Zak Gilbert has responded via email to the rumor, as mongered by Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly, that the Raiders are talking to Jon Gruden about taking a job with the team he once coached.
“Members of the media,” Gilbert writes, “[t]here are two people on this planet that have the ability to make talks happen between Jon Gruden and the Raiders, with regard to him allegedly taking over the football operations, and/or the position of head coach. Each of those individuals, owner Mark Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie, wanted me to communicate that this rumor has no validity whatsoever. And for the record, I’m personally disgusted that Hub Arkush would spread such an untruth on the day our head coach, Dennis Allen, had to determine with his mom, his brother and sister, whether to take his dad off life support or wait and hope that he would regain consciousness. Dennis didn’t have an opportunity to say goodbye to his dad, but he did have an opportunity to take a phone call regarding Hub’s story.”
I didn’t consider Coach Allen’s personal situation when someone pointed out that Arkush had pushed the Gruden-to-Oakland rumor Tuesday afternoon on WSCR in Chicago. I should have. I likely helped make it a bigger story than it otherwise would have been, and I apologize to the Raiders and to Coach Allen for writing about the story on the same day his father passed.