A former NFL player and Las Vegas sports analyst said he “would never have guessed” that Jon Gruden was capable of the vulgar emails that cost him his job as head coach of the Raiders.
Mike Pritchard, who played in the league for nine years, told State of Nevada that he was “disappointed and heartbroken” by the situation, which revolves around emails Gruden sent to an NFL team executive over several years.
In them, Gruden uses homophobic, racist, and profane language to grouse about league officials and other well-known figures, including current President Joe Biden and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“From a professional standpoint you admire his ability and the talent that he had for coaching football and calling plays on Sundays,” Pritchard said, “but we really don't know what somebody is like once they close their front door.”
Pritchard said the NFL is “not for everyone” and has a culture of spirited insults, but he called Gruden’s words “repulsive.”
“I would never have guessed that Jon Gruden, the person was capable of doing this,” he said, “ and I'm sure a lot of players are feeling like that.”
Pritchard speculated that Raider players were huddling today, trying to make sense of the scandal and what it might mean for their careers.
“The older players are probably having a conversation like we're having right now,” he said. “The younger players, they're gonna look for direction.
“I was fortunate enough to have five contracts and National Football League, and that was incredible,” Pritchard said, “but you're talking about some young players right now on this football team that is still under first contract, and they're uncertain of their future.”
Pritchard said it’s up to interim coach Rich Bisaccia to steady the ship and prepare the team for Sunday’s game in Denver when they put their 3-2 record up against the Broncos.
“People that have been associated with him that I spoke with, they think the world of him. They think he's a leader of men,” Pritchard said, but “the focus is going to have to be there on game day.”
"Your head coach is no longer there, so there is a lot of adversity right now," he said. " How is it gonna play out? I have no idea to be honest with you. It's up to this organization."
Mike Pritchard, talk show host, former NFL player
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