Jon Gruden is well-known for being, well, unorthodox.
And the Las Vegas Raiders head coach has proved that yet again… man.
Gruden reportedly faked having COVID-19 and even had the Raiders staff tell players he was in the hospital, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. Garafolo, speaking on NFL Network on Wednesday, explained how it wasn’t a mean-spirited prank, but instead an attempt to depict a serious message.
“I wanna relay a story I heard last week because this is pretty telling about how teams are approaching how things are right now in the COVID world,” Garafolo said. “And that is, the Raiders’ players logging onto a Zoom call last week expecting to see Jon Gruden, instead they saw Rich Bisaccia, the special teams coach and the assistant head coach. Bisaccia told them ‘Guys, uh, coach Gruden has COVID and he’s at the hospital now and he’s being taken care of.’ And the players were taken back — whoa. They shortly thereafter told them ‘You know what, we’re just putting you on a bit.’ And it wasn’t a joke, what it was was the team illustrating to the players that this could happen any moment to anybody.
“The point to the players was ‘You got to stay ready, and you got to stay ready, everybody’s got to stay ready. … And the players really took it to heart, from what I’m told, and now going forward know that everybody has to be on the ready because the world we are living in right now,” Garafolo said.
One more on the #Raiders from Inside Training Camp on @nflnetwork: Jon Gruden's attempt to "crush" COVID-19 included assistant Rich Bisaccia tricking the players into thinking Gruden had coronavirus. But it wasn't a mean-spirited prank. There was a serious message behind it. pic.twitter.com/I832Zy5g2a
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 5, 2020
The NFL has seen an uptick in the number of players opting out — 60 in total as of Wednesday evening.