Raiders’ Jon Gruden more concerned with COVID-19 than upcoming NFL season
The 2020 NFL season will be a test for everybody involved, but for Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, the persistent presence of COVID-19 is truly another dimension causing stress on himself and the team.
“Hopefully, we can beat the virus. The Chiefs are great — unfortunately we have to play them twice — but we got the toughest opponent … we gotta beat this virus, man. You and me and everybody else, and hopefully somebody comes up with a cure soon.”
“It’s tough. It’s a tough, tough, tough job right now — and it’s not just football. Humanity is a big part of this, you know what I am saying? Your team, your family, your fans, the city of Las Vegas, the world — you worry about everybody. There is no answer for this. … There are safety measures that we’re trying to use, but it’s unprecedented territory for you and me and everybody else.”
Gruden, at 56 years old, is approaching the age medical officials warn individuals could be in danger of increased health risks caused by the coronavirus. The one-time Super Bowl champion with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in 2002 rejoined the Raiders organization in 2018 after previously leading the sidelines for four seasons at the turn of the millennium.
Next, Gruden will have to shepherd the AFC West franchise to a new city: The Raiders relocated to Sin City over the offseason, with new Allegiant Stadium constructed.
Nevertheless, COVID-19 has been making its presence felt in the NFL with several high-profile players such as New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower opting out of the upcoming season. Previously, during the spring, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton contracted the pandemic-level virus. Gruden and the Raiders have every right to be concerned.