Jon Gruden won’t re-hash ‘all the drama’ of Khalil Mack trade
Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders will be confronted with their past this coming Sunday when the team faces the Khalil Mack-led Chicago Bears on Sunday in London. That does not mean the Raiders head coach is interested in “re-hashing all the drama” surrounding the trade that shipped the superstar linebacker to the Windy City last season.
Speaking to reporters on a conference call on Wednesday morning, Gruden was not inclined to get into any specifics of the machinations behind the Raiders’ decision to trade one of the NFL’s best defensive players.
“I’m not going to get into all the drama,” Gruden said in a teleconference following his team’s London practice, as transcribed by the Chicago Sun-Times. “We wanted to sign Mack, OK? We didn’t want to trade him.
“I wish him the best. I’m not re-hashing all the drama. We wanted to have him. We couldn’t make it happen.”
After Mack held out the entirety of training camp and preseason in Gruden’s return to the Raiders, the team traded him to the Bears for two first-round picks — one of which netted promising rookie running back Josh Jacobs — a third-round pick and a sixth round pick, as well as a 2020 second round and conditional fifth round picks.
Suffice to say, the Raiders accumulated a significant amount of draft capital in the deal, something Gruden acknowledged Wednesday.
“We were able to get a couple draft picks,” Gruden said. “Josh Jacobs is playing well for us and we were able to sign some players in free agency, and we’re going to continue to build our team. Certainly wish Mack the best.”
Gruden went on to praise Mack as a “great player,” adding his impact upon an already-formidable Bears defense before his arrival is even more enhanced by how he is “surrounded on all three levels by talent.”
Mack, meanwhile, downplayed the importance of playing his former team this week, saying, “It’s another game, man.”
The case can be made the trade was one of those deals that was beneficial to both teams. That’s quite the statement, given how Mack is a generational talent.