Jon Gruden’s comments to Richard Sherman are “blatant tampering”

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Cris Collinsworth tried. He tried to keep Raiders coach Jon Gruden from potentially committing a tampering violation. Gruden didn’t seem to care.

Collinsworth, who hosts a podcast featuring 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, had Gruden on as a guest. Collinsworth mentioned the fact that former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has arrived in Las Vegas as the defensive coordinator, before pointing out the elephant that enters the room when a player under contract with one team is speaking directly to a coach from another team.

“I know there’s tampering rules out there and I don’t want to bring up anything that might create a problem for you, because I know that you’ve been fined a few shekels over the years,” Collinsworth said.

“Yes I have,” Gruden said. “I’ve been fined, I’ve been punished very, very harshly. Richard Sherman, if you are a free agent, which there is a rumor you are, we are looking for an alpha presence in our secondary. Somebody that could play this Hawk 3-press technique with the read step. If you’re available and interested, maybe you and I can get together at some point off air.”

Said Sherman in response: “There’s a conversation to be had, for sure. I am free and available these days.”

As one General Manager said, unsolicited and unprompted, in response to Gruden’s comments, “This is blatant tampering.”

And it is. Here’s the relevant language, from page 5 of the NFL’s Anti-Tampering Policy: “Any public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’s player to that player’s agent or representative, or to a member of the news media, is a violation of this Anti-Tampering Policy. (Example of a prohibited comment: ‘He’s an excellent player, and we’d very much like to have him if he were available, but another club holds his rights.’)”

Gruden went farther than that. His comments presume Sherman already is a free agent. He isn’t. He remains under contract with the 49ers until March 17, when the new league year begins and he becomes a free agent.

Via email, the NFL has declined comment on the situation.

Whether the league actually does anything about it remains to be seen. Sometimes they don’t, sometimes they do. In this case, how can’t they? It’s as open and obvious as it gets; even if the 49ers don’t currently plan to keep Sherman, they have his rights through March 17. He’s not free. He’s not available.

And Gruden, who has been in and around the NFL for decades, should know that. If he doesn’t, there’s a good chance he eventually soon will.

35 responses to “Jon Gruden’s comments to Richard Sherman are “blatant tampering”

  1. I’d fine Gruden, but not the team.
    I’d take mercy on the hapless Raiders.
    But to be a repeat offender is plain stupid on Grudens part.

  2. In the same breath he both bemoans his punishment(s) for tampering and then commits it again. Hilarious.

  3. It’s all the NFLs fault with their kangaroo court ‘sometimes they follow the rules sometimes they don’t’ persona.

    And Gruden is a moron for what he said, and should be punished for blatant tampering as you state, potentially more harshly for multiple offenses.

  4. This is definitely tampering lol, If Gruden is not fined etc. Then the NFL is a complete joke.

  5. Better question is, why would Gruden WANT Sherman at this stage of his career? Sure, he explained it, kind of. But still, WHY?

  6. cmon man, Everyone Tampers its just most don’t get caught and Gruden don’t seem to care. I mean Stafford and McVay vacationing in cabo is just fine right.

  7. I’m not a Gruden fan, but I read this a little different.

    Gruden said, ” Richard Sherman, if you are a free agent.

    Well apparently he is not. So everything Gruden said after that does not apply IMO.

  8. What about Sherman’s very public message to Deshaun Watson that he should go to the Jets because Jets’ new head coach, Robert Saleh is the best?

  9. Look people–If we aint cheating we aint trying –Big Al even expressed it to his top players back in the day,plus ten million Chucky dollars a year im sure he can afford a little fine. Sherman would fit nicely and I cant imagine our pathetic defense talking back to the Legend of boom..Go gettem boy’s!

  10. Sorry folks. If anyone is stupid enough to think Gruden didn’t KNOW what he was saying was tampering (and just didn’t care)… Contact me about a possible sale of the Brooklyn Bridge….

  11. Why punish someone for being honest? It’s going to happen. Would you rather have it done under the table or behind closed doors?

  12. cafetero1075 says:
    February 3, 2021 at 11:46 am
    Chucky is over rated. Go back to the booth.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    He was worse in the booth.

  13. $10mill/yr for 10 years is so much, it’s hard to spend it all. I guess Gruden wants to return some of it to the League. Which is only fair considering his performance so far.

  14. A couple of years ago, the Jets owner made his feelings clear he wanted Revis back while he was still with the Patriots. And followed through by signing him. Small fine, like change found under the cushions for ordinary people.

  15. In 2008 the 49ers lost a 5th round pick and had to swap 3rd round picks with the Bears for tampering with Lance Briggs. Why shouldn’t a similiar punishment be handed to the Raiders?

  16. This should cost LV their 1st. round pick ! Not the 1st. time for Gruden.
    NFL… set an example !

  17. Gruden just said to the league – I don’t care what your stupid rules are, and I for one love it!!

  18. Sherman is shot. Why anyone would want to bring him in anymore is beyond me. He’s not good at his position anymore and shoots off his mouth way too much. Not worth the pay he has been getting.

  19. curtis20 says:
    February 3, 2021 at 11:28 am
    He’s a free agent it doesnt matter. Gruden can recruit him if he wants to.

    League year is not over and he wasn’t cut, so he is not a free agent yet. Gruden of all people should be aware of this.

  20. The Rams and Lions swap quarterbacks but technically they are under contract with their old teans. Yet the media reported it, someone confirmed it from above, the players involved confirmed it.

  21. We already lost a 6th rounder because of the Covid-19 violations, we don’t need Gruden to do anything stupid and get more picks taken away.

  22. Not sure an “alpha presence” who is generally injured most of the year and gets burned regularly is worth 12+ mil a year…

  23. The 49ers will glady take one of the the Raiders league high first round picks since 2017. We all can tell by their record, they haven’t been putting them to good use.

  24. Zee Bobby says:
    February 3, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    This should cost LV their 1st. round pick ! Not the 1st. time for Gruden.
    NFL… set an example !
    I agree. That would be doing us a favor. I mean have you seen our 1st round picks the last few years?

  25. patriots123456 says:
    February 3, 2021 at 12:24 pm
    I’m not a Gruden fan, but I read this a little different.

    Gruden said, ” Richard Sherman, if you are a free agent.

    Well apparently he is not. So everything Gruden said after that does not apply IMO.
    This is wrong. The tampering rule states that any “expression of interest” is tampering. You can’t just say “oh he isn’t available though so none of this counts” and then say how much you want that player and get away with any statement of tampering because you clarified that it’s “only if he’s available”. You’re still directly expressing your desire for the player that can harm other team’s negotiating rights because you are not supposed to negotiate with him yet.

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