The Oakland Raiders played their first game of the new NFL season on Monday night, and it didn’t go well. The 2018 Raiders feature plenty of new looks. Sure, Derek Carr is still the quarterback and Marshawn Lynch returns for another season at running back, but they have a brand new head coach in Jon Gruden and they traded away their best defensive player, Khalil Mack, just weeks before the season started.
On Monday night, just 24 hours after Mack showed how valuable he could be with his new team the Chicago Bears, Gruden spoke to ESPN about his departure.
"Obviously, Khalil Mack didn't want to be here."
– Jon Gruden pic.twitter.com/t1NQzF5bVo
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 10, 2018
“He was under contract,” Gruden continued. “He never showed for an OTA, he never showed up for training camp, and it was obvious he wasn’t going to show up for the season. So don’t forget that. We have to get ready to play, and I want players that want to be here, that want to help us put this thing back in high gear.”
Raiders fans are bemoaning the fact the team wouldn’t open their wallet to sign Mack to a long term extension — something the Bears happily did after the trade — but seem to forget that Gruden inked a $100 million coaching deal in the offseason.
The Raiders, who are set to move to Vegas in 2020 (or maybe 2019 — who knows?), have only made the playoffs once in the 15 seasons. They lost a 2016 Wild Card game to the Texans and went 6-10 the following season. In short, they have a long way to go.