PHOENIX — Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis said he would rather fire Jon Gruden than have his team appear on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” the training camp reality series, this summer.
Gruden, who is entering Year 2 of his 10-year contract worth a reported $100 million, said he was fine with that notion.
“I’m all for whatever he wants to do,” Gruden told ESPN on Tuesday night.
Both were presumably joking, but this much is true — neither Davis nor Gruden want anything to do with the show, which is a hit for fans but a drag on coaches, staff and front-office personnel who don’t want any laundry, dirty or otherwise, being aired weekly on national television.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden said he is excited to help wide receiver Antonio Brown “continue his career playing at a high level.”
Marshawn Lynch played the past two seasons with the Raiders, and with coach Jon Gruden acknowledging a need at running back, he would welcome the Oakland native back for another season.
Teams are exempt from consideration if they have a first-year coach, have played in the postseason the past two years or have been on “Hard Knocks” in the previous 10 years.
As such, the Raiders are one of five NFL teams eligible for the show, along with the Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants and Washington.
“I’ll just fire Jon and then hire him back [after another team is chosen],” Davis said jokingly at the NFL owners meetings.
Davis said the timing for an appearance just doesn’t feel right.
“It would be disruptive,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of business to take care of, get ready for the season. I appreciate that they might think we’d be great TV, but we got something to accomplish.”
Here’s the thing — business, as Antonio Brown would say, is boomin’, and so are Raiders storylines. From Gruden’s “Chucky” persona to new general manager Mike Mayock’s recent television past to huge personalities on the roster in Mr. Big Chest himself (Brown) and linebacker Vontaze Burfict to quarterback/family man Derek Carr’s charity and church work to, maybe, a Marshawn Lynch return.
Plus the Raiders are sure to have big names at camp via the draft, where they have four of the first 35 picks.
Oh, and it is scheduled to be the Raiders’ last season in Oakland before the 2020 move to Las Vegas.
Some Raiders officials believed a decision on which team will appear on the series could be made by the end of the week.
In February, Lions coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn appeared to be doing everything they could to deflect the hit HBO show to Gruden and the Raiders, with Patricia saying, “I think Jon Gruden is an excellent choice for that show. I think the Oakland Raiders and everything they’ve got going on right now would be fantastic viewing for everybody to watch.”