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‘Claustrophobic’ Jon Gruden dreading travel to London for Week 6 game

It has not been smooth sailing for Jon Gruden in his first season back on the sideline as head coach for the Oakland Raiders. And having to take to the air for a long flight to London for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks has Gruden filled with dread.

It turns out Gruden is not fond of such trips, so the hours-long flight across the pond will not be enjoyable by any stretch.

“I hope I can make it, honestly. I’m not great (traveling),” Gruden told NBC Sports Bay Area. “I get claustrophobic. My son was a weightlifter and he won a powerlifting competition in Belarus. I had to fly 14 hours. I had to fly home 14 hours. I had vertigo for a month. I couldn’t even lay down, the house was spinning. I am hoping I don’t get vertigo. I’m not a great traveler.”

It certainly sounds like Gruden’s issues with traveling go far beyond a simple aversion. Instead, it’s possible the flight to London to play at Wembley Stadium on Sunday could provoke a visceral, debilitating reaction.

Meanwhile, Gruden has no choice but to set his travel issues aside and try to focus on the task at hand, which is preparing the Raiders for what is always a daunting and disruptive obstacle for NFL teams that make the regular-season trip overseas to London.

“Did a lot of research on it, obviously — people that have done it, people that have made that cross-country trip from California,” Gruden said. “I don’t know much about it. We’re just doing the best thing we think for our players. Get the proper preparation here. Then go to London, get them the proper rest, time acclimation. Then get ready to play on Sunday.”

As is often the case, the Raiders will enjoy their bye week following the London trip. Sitting at 1-4, things obviously have not gone as planned so far this season for Gruden. Add in this trip to London, which is troubling from both a professional and personal standpoint for Gruden, and the coach presumably cannot wait to get back on the West Coast.