Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is already back in a routine of working from sun up to sun down in trying to get re-acclimated to the franchise he led from 1998-2001.
However, Gruden isn’t thrilled with the reality of the NFL under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement that significantly restricts access to the players during the offseason. In an interview with Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group, Gruden made it clear he isn’t a fan of the changes to the contact rules put in place since the last time he was an NFL head coach.
“You’re not allowed to be with your players,” he said. “Some genius thought that would be great, that we’re not even allowed to talk to our players. So that’s been a big challenge.
“You’re not allowed to do anything. You’re not allowed to coach your players. I’ve called several players, introduced myself. I think that’s legal. I’m not having contact with everybody. … We’re not allowed to have any real contact. It’s pretty clear on what the rules are.”
The rules of the CBA implemented under the new agreement in 2011 significantly limited the amount of contact players could have with coaches throughout the offseason and cut back on the number, and type, of workouts teams can engage in.
Gruden believes the players themselves want to work more than they’re currently allowed to with their teams. He also laments that the rules don’t allow him to start building relationships with the players he’s going to be coaching this fall.
“I hate it, personally,” he said. “When I was out of coaching, I had players come and visit me to help them with getting their football fix. A lot of these guys want to work. A lot of these guys are dying to work. And a lot of these men have hired independent coaches to help them work. But the big thing is, I just want to start having relationships with these guys, learn what makes them tick. What motivates them. How they learn. The only way you can learn is by being with people but there’s some geniuses out there that have put together this formula and we’re going to certainly abide by the rules.”
Since Gruden is a new head coach, he will be allowed to begin offseason workouts ahead of teams that have kept their head coach in place from last season. However, it’s still not going to be as much of a head start as Gruden would prefer in acclimating to being the Raiders head coach once again.