One of the central themes of Tuesday’s press conference introducing Jon Gruden as the head coach of the Raiders was how much Gruden loves the Raiders organization.
Gruden said he never wanted to leave Oakland and also professed his love for the city. A love for Oakland and desire to play for the Raiders was also cited by running back Marshawn Lynch as his reasons for returning to the NFL last year, but Lynch’s distaste for interviews means the two men haven’t been able to share these feelings or any others with each other yet.
“You know, I’ve never met Marshawn Lynch. Even as a broadcaster, I asked for Marshawn Lynch in production meetings, and I never got to meet him,” Gruden said.
Gruden said he’s anxious to meet the running back because they came to the team for similar reasons “and guys like him interest me.”
None of that says much about fit in an offensive scheme, but Lynch was frequently the best player on the Oakland offense while running for 625 yards and five touchdowns in the final eight games of the season. His running style didn’t look too different than it did in Seattle as the season went along, something Gruden got to see in Week 16 when he called their loss to the Eagles.
He’s due a $1 million roster bonus — he has a $4 million salary — early in the new league year and the Raiders can move on without a cap hit if the personalties don’t mesh when the two men finally do sit down together.