Jon Gruden on releasing ‘Hard Knocks’ star: ‘That was your storyline’
Jon Gruden provided a blunt — not to mention reasonable — explanation for the decision to cut wide receiver Keelan Doss, who was one of the breakout stars of the Oakland Raiders’ appearance on this season’s edition of HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”
Doss was among the final cuts by the Raiders as the team trimmed players down to a 53-man roster. An undrafted free agent hailing from nearby Alameda, Calif., Doss joined the Raiders back in April, and his star turn in “Hard Knocks” became one of the feel-good stories of the NFL preseason.
As Gruden astutely noted on Monday, however, a great narrative like the one surrounding Doss may make for compelling television, it does not and should not impact roster decisions.
Alameda High star Keelan Doss is now on the Jaguar’s practice squad. He was impressive in the preseason and was fun to watch on Hard Knocks but Gruden says he’s not interested in fairy tale endings. #Raiders pic.twitter.com/nhFOqAdgJd— Andrea Nakano (@AndreaKPIX) September 3, 2019
“That was your storyline. That wasn’t my storyline, just so we’re on the same page,” Gruden said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “He did a heck of a job. We tried to keep him on practice squad. He felt like he had a better opportunity to make the team in Jacksonville. You hate to see him go, but we’re happy for his future. We weren’t eager to get rid of Marcell Ateman. He started several games for us last year. Rico Gafford made some big plays this preseason, and he’s only played receiver for one year.
“[Doss was] in a tough spot. He’s a big story on the TV show, but that’s not the reality that we saw on tape.”
Gruden is absolutely correct in his defense of cutting Doss loose, but it merits noting the young wideout was a favorite of the Raiders head coach, which presumably means the decision to release him was an agonizing one.
As it stands, Doss can still realize his NFL dreams, as the 23-year-old wide receiver landed on the Jacksonsville Jaguars’ practice squad after the Raiders released him.