The stir around the Las Vegas Raiders is at an all-time high after head coach Jon Gruden resigned following a series of emails involving racist tropes and other offensive messages. In turn, special teams coordinator and assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia was named the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
The Raiders will now get right to work despite everything that has happened in the previous days leading up to Gruden walking away from the organization. Reactions are all over the place, as is expected. Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin spoke to reporters Tuesday about the Gruden situation and got honest about his former colleague and mentor.
Mike Tomlin saddened by Gruden
It has been a stunning turn of events in Las Vegas, and Gruden is now out as the head coach after signing a massive 10-year contract just a couple of seasons ago.
Tomlin, who was Gruden’s defensive backs coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, expressed his sadness on the situation (h/t Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette):
“I’m just saddened by it. I’m saddened for the Raiders organization. I’m saddened for the people who were offended by it. I’m saddened for coach Gruden. It’s a sad commentary. That’s the only opinion I care to share at this juncture.”
Mike Tomlin after Jon Gruden resigned as Raiders head coach
Gruden’s future as a coach in the NFL is in question after the latest events. Tomlin didn’t want to get into it too much, especially due to their close relationship, but repeated that he was “saddened.”
The Steelers faced the Raiders in Week 2, and Gruden’s team walked away with the victory in what very well could be the final matchup between the two Super Bowl-winning head coaches.
Gruden, the mentor
Gruden has been credited with developing many head coaches at the NFL level, with Tomlin being one of the most successful. Tomlin was hired to join the Bucs staff back in the early 2000s by Tony Dungy. Gruden took over as head coach the following season and kept Tomlin on the staff, working with him every step of the way.
Nearly two decades later, Tomlin is one of the best head coaches in the NFL and has had much success with the Steelers. His resume includes a Super Bowl victory against the Arizona Cardinals in 2009 as he made history as the youngest head coach to win the Lombardi Trophy.
It is no surprise Tomlin has a soft spot in his heart for Gruden, and one can only imagine how difficult it was for him to address the recent findings about the now-former Raiders head coach.
What’s next for the Raiders?
The fallout over the next few weeks in Las Vegas will be wild.
Players and coaches have expressed their feelings on the findings, and Rich Bisaccia has a tall task to try to regain confidence in the locker room. Former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson laid into Gruden after he resigned, and much more will come about as the situation continues to unfold.
On the field, Las Vegas has dropped two straight games and has scored just 23 points throughout those contests, and now, dealing with this matter will be tough, as it would be for any franchise.
They are going backward after an undefeated start to the year that ended at the hands of the Los Angeles Chargers, and Bisaccia has the unfathomable job of getting the guys back together in time for a divisional game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference