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Jon Gruden Introduced As Oakland Raiders Head Coach

Mark Davis Opening Statement:"Once a Raider, always a Raider. Never been more appropriate than today. I would like to start off by reintroducing some members of the Raider family. First, our head coach's mom and dad, Jim and Kathy Gruden. I especially want to thank Kathy Gruden for being one of my biggest cheerleaders in this process. Although they couldn't be here today, they are watching at home in Tampa. Next, I would like to introduce the wife and my other biggest cheerleader, Cindy Gruden. Finally, please welcome the next generation of Grudens, Deuce, Michael and Jayson. Without the support of the entire Gruden family, we wouldn't be here today. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for making my dream come true. Raider Nation, this is a big f'n deal. Please welcome the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Mr. Jon Gruden."

Jon Gruden Opening Statement:"I'd just like to thank Mark Davis and Mrs. Davis for this opportunity. I used to get phone calls from Al Davis at 3 a.m. Now, I get them from Mark Davis at 3 a.m., but I want to thank you for this opportunity from the bottom of my heart. I want to thank you, Cindy, my three sons for supporting me in going after this opportunity. It takes a family effort, I think, to be all in on something like this. I'd also really like to thank all of the Raiders players that are here today. I saw Charles Woodson. Brady fumbled that ball. Tim Brown, Howie Long, Russell Maryland, Eric Allen, Jerry Rice, Jim Otto, Ted Hendricks. It's about the people for me and that's a big reason I am here today. Obviously, this is very emotional for me. I never wanted to leave the Raiders. I never thought I'd be back, but here I am and I'm ready to get to work. I just want to say there's really four major reasons that I am here coaching today. Number one, I love football. I love the players that play it. I love the preparation, I love the journey. I love football, and I love the city of Oakland. I had a son here and some of my great memories in life are in Oakland and I want to give them two of the best years of football that I can possibly help deliver. And I love the Raiders. The brand is global. Everywhere I went as Monday Night Football analyst, the Raider Nation would come out of the ground. I love the Raiders, and most of all, I love to win. I am going to do everything I can. No guarantees, no promises, but I want to win. I look forward to working with Reggie [McKenzie] and his staff. We've got a lot of work to do. We've hired three new coordinators already. Paul Guenther from the Cincinnati Bengals is official. Great addition to our football team. Rich Bisaccia will be our special teams coordinator from the Dallas Cowboys. Greg Olson will be our offensive coordinator coming over from the Los Angeles Rams. I can't wait to get started and it's an emotional time for me but I will answer any questions I can."

Q: Can you sort of take us through the process of when this really got serious and to where you are right now?

Coach Gruden: "I don't know, Jerry [McDonald]. Mark and I have been friends for a long time. I think over the last six to seven years we have talked about the Raiders. Not necessarily becoming a coach, but maybe ways that we could improve the Raiders or my vision how I thought I could help them. Mark came to me a few weeks ago and asked me if I had any intentions of coaching and with the support of my family I said, 'Yes, I do,' and it's a mysterious way it all came together and here I am. I don't really have a solid explanation other than that."

Q: Jon, I'm sure that you have had offers pretty much every year to be back on the sideline since you left them in Tampa Bay. Why now? Why was the timing right this year? Why was it different?

Coach Gruden:"I just… In my heart, I feel this is the thing to do. This is what I want to do. This is the organization that I want to be a part of and I am all in. I only live one time. This is something I feel deeply, strongly about and I am going to do everything I can to hire a great coaching staff and put the Raiders back on track."

Q: Once you made that decision, from that point on, were you diagramming plays in your head? What were the emotions once you made that decision?

Coach Gruden:"You know, the reality is I haven't changed much at all since 1998, I really haven't. I am not a real deep, philosophical person. I've always loved football, I've wanted to come back, I've prepared to come back. I'm ready to roll, I'm just ready to go. I'm at a point in my life where I need another challenge. I know I have a lot to prove and I'm eager to prove I can do it. Yeah, I've been thinking of a lot of plays and when I saw Derek Carr this morning, I thought of a few more just so you know."

Q: Do you still have the maniacal energy, passion, waking up at 3:17 a.m. and all of that?

Coach Gruden:"So far I do. Yes, I do. My wife and kids I think can attest to that. Work ethic is a big part, I think, of anyone's success. Any success that I've had, I think, starts with the drive. The excitement of getting up and helping a team and helping a player improve. My schedule hasn't changed at all, it really hasn't."

Q: What we've seen of you in the last week with Derek Carr is you and him in the Gruden QB Camp many years ago. You've met him now. Talk about what you've seen in his maturation development and how you're looking forward to working with him and what you think about him now compared to then?

Coach Gruden:"My feelings are similar. He has great arm talent, he's athletic, he's got natural leadership skills, he's young, he's in his prime, he's healthy now. He's, I think, been in a lot of different systems, played for a number of different quarterbacks. There hasn't been a lot of continuity around him that way. I think he has a huge upside. I think with Greg Olson and the system we are going to put in place is going to demand a lot from him and I think that is what is going to unlock the greatness in him but very, very excited to have him as our quarterback."

Q: Twenty years is a long time to be away from the sidelines. How has the game changed in your opinion? Has it changed that much and how much are you going to have to adjust from the coach you were 20 years ago?

Coach Gruden:"Twenty? I'm not that old. Look, what has changed is the collective bargaining agreement has changed the way we practice, the way we conduct ourselves in the offseason. Obviously, the rules have changed. Player safety has now emerged as a critical part of the game. I've paid very close attention to it. I have a lot to prove. I have not coached since 2008. I haven't won a game since 2008. I haven't lost any either, so I just want to keep that in perspective. I've got to hire a great coaching staff. That's been the number one criteria that I've tried to bring everywhere I've been as a head coach. It's about the people, it's about the staff, it's about the tempo that we establish as a coaching staff. With that said, I've got a lot to prove and I know that. But the game is still decided by players between the lines and we all have to adapt every year."

**Q: Being away from the game these last few years, what do you think are some of the most important things you have learned or seen from the other side?


Coach Gruden:"Look, I've gotten to see every facility in the league. I've had a chance to watch practices and see how they conduct training camps. I've had the chance to learn and see some things that I've never gotten to see as a coach. I've had a chance to study different offenses, different defenses, and the chance to get into personnel more. I think I'm more big picture now than what I was in the past, but I still want to be very detailed in terms of how we play offense. I still want to be very involved with how we move the football. I have had some unique and beneficial opportunities as a broadcaster."

Q: You mentioned personnel. How much involved are you going to be in personnel decisions, or are you just going to coach?

Coach Gruden:"Well we are going to work together. Reggie and I come from the same tree in Green Bay, raised by Ron Wolf as young Green Bay Packers. I think we have a similar viewpoint in terms of what kind of players we are looking for. It has got to be a collaborative effort, whether it be a salary cap decision, a free-agent acquisition, or who we draft. We've got to work together. I think that is the great thing about being here. We are going to be united, we are going to work hard and we are going to assemble the best team possible. We aren't always going to agree and Reggie will probably win… Look at the size of the guy! *(laughing) *You know what, I don't want to agree with everybody. I want to work hard and try to pursue every vehicle possible to improve the Oakland Raiders."

McKenzie:"It is a team effort. We are a team. It is going to be a Raider decision, bottom line. We are going to work great together."

Q: How will your 2018 offense be different from what you ran when you were in Tampa Bay and here?

Coach Gruden:"Well right now it'll be different. The offense we ran in Tampa Bay was very different from the one we ran in Oakland. You see Lincoln Kennedy walking around and Tim Brown and Jerry Rice. You can't take everyone with you and run the same offense. You don't have Rich Gannon. You have to adapt your offense to what Brad Johnson's strengths are. Certainly, we are going to have to look at our roster carefully and see, do we have a fullback? Who is the feature back? Who are the receivers? A lot of things have to be determined, and I think you have to have an offense that is adaptable, that is versatile and can adjust to a number of certain areas. That is what we need to do. Get through today, lock the doors, and get to work."

Q: The report of the deal is 10 years, $100 million. Is that close to accurate and if it is, how do you make yourself worth $100 million?

Coach Gruden:"I don't have a guarantee to be alive for 10 years so people know. Mark has told me that we are not getting any ownership of the team, so I am happy to report that today. I don't really know the terms. All I know is that this year, I'll be coaching in Oakland and next year I'm going to be coaching in Oakland. I want to help deliver the best football team we can to the people here in Oakland. How long I stay here will be determined by how well we play."

Q: How do you manage the expectations with that unprecedented contract you are receiving, and winning not just in the future, but right now?

Coach Gruden:"I know there is a big bullseye on my chest, certainly. If the people want to use that as an incentive, then so be it. I worked for Al Davis in 1998. That was pressure. I was 34 years old. I've dealt with pressure before. I don't really feel pressure. I love the excitement and thrill of competing, and I can't worry about things I can't control in that regard. I know people will want to step on me and beat me, and that is just the way this league is."

Q: When you look at 6-10 this past season, what do you see as the biggest need of improvement?

Coach Gruden:"Well they started off fast with two impressive wins. That is what we are in the process of finding out. I can't tell you that I have all the right answers right now. We have to get to work and solve the problems that we have. We did not finish well. We lost our last four games, had some injuries certainly, and changes with the coaching staff. There were some things that went wrong, but you can't solve all the problems today. We've got to come up with a plan to put the Raiders back on track and build this football team back."

Q: You talk about dealing with areas that need improvement. What would you prefer to tackle first?

Coach Gruden:"I think we have to improve in all areas. No matter what our record is, we've got to continually find ways to improve. We've got to improve the ways we practice.  We have to improve the way we meet. And we have to improve the way we play. We have got to improve our roster, no question. The draft will be a big part of it. Who is available when we pick? What is available to us in free agency? That will be determined down the road, but we certainly need to improve every area of this football team, and it starts with me."

Q: Can you talk about the team's plan to move to Las Vegas and how you go about that?

Coach Gruden: "I'll let Mark talk about Vegas. I am a real short-term, goal-oriented coach. Big reason why I'm here is the passion I have for the city of Oakland and this franchise. People in the Black Hole, if you are listening, I can't wait to see you guys. I really can't and I would like to fill that place with Raider fans at least seven or eight more times. That is all I care about right now."

Q: The game has changed with the players. Do you see any concern about your 'in your face' coaching style that might not go well with today's player?

Coach Gruden:"Well these 50 extra Oakland Raider players that are here today didn't mind it. I mean, I don't know what my reputation is. There are some great video clips of me swearing, screaming at players, but I was also the biggest cheerleader in the league. I get excited when we make a play. I get excited when we make a first down. I really get excited when we win. I get really upset when we don't, and I hope that still has a place in the NFL. That is how this organization rolls. It is about winning. If you aren't winning, we are not going to be happy. I hope that is still a big part of every team in this league, because it will be a big part of this organization."

Q:  What did you see this season from Derek Carr on why he had a down year? What do you think you can do better with him and the offense, and are you going to call the plays?

Coach Gruden:"I'm still in the process of evaluating the tape. I just got in last night. Obviously, Derek got hurt earlier in the season against the Denver Broncos. Three broken bones in your back. I think that is a reasonable reason why you might not have the same season you had a year ago. My intentions are calling the plays. That is what I've done the last 14 years of my career. I like being with the quarterbacks. I like calling the plays. Somebody said I was insane a minute ago and it is probably exactly right. I have a different mentality than most guys I guess."

Q: Lincoln Kennedy recently said that he thinks the anthem protests affected the team mentally this season. If the team's issues run that deep, how do you plan on fixing it?

Coach Gruden:"I'm going to look into all of that. Honestly, I'm not aware of any protests. I'm not really aware of anything in that subject at all. When I gather some information, maybe we can cover that later."

Q: Jon, would you have an issue with your players protesting the anthem? And Mark, you said this was your biggest dream to bring Jon Gruden back. Why?

Davis:"When my father passed away and we had the first press conference, I told everyone here that one thing I know is that I don't know, and that I am going to surround myself with people who do know those things. My vision at that time was Jon Gruden to coach this football team, and Reggie McKenzie to bring in the talent. It took me six years of chasing Jon, but every trip I made to Tampa Bay, I sat down and saw the work that Jon does every day, starting at 3 a.m. in the morning. Watching film, marking down plays, and saw how much he enjoys it. Over the six years, that passion never waned. He continuously did it, and I continually tried to convince him that he is wasting his time teaching everybody out here how to play football instead of coming back and doing with a football team in the National Football League. And, if he is going to do it, he should do it with the Oakland Raiders. To have him here is the biggest day of my life. To have him be the leader of this organization is going to be phenomenal and I'm excited."

Q: How much did developing a young, successful quarterback have to do with you taking this job?

Coach Gruden:"It is very exciting. I think there is a huge ceiling in Derek Carr. I think he has proven that. Up to us as a coaching staff to improve around him, get more consistent, and come up with an offense that really allows him to soar into another level. It is exciting and I think if I was a Raiders fan, I would come every week very excited to see No. 4 under center."

Q: Coach, this is your first-overall pick from 1998, Charles Woodson, here with the Raiders Alumni. All of us just want to know, is there a no-trade clause in your deal?

Coach Gruden:"You're going to make me want to go home, Charles. *(laughing) *There is a no-trade clause. All I want to say to you guys is that it means the world to me that you are here. You are welcome, as long as I'm the head coach, you are welcome here. I want you guys to be a big part of this Raider organization and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your attendance today. Some of you guys were actually on time, unlike when I was coaching here, but there are a lot of young players out there that have untapped potential. We have to untap that potential and as soon as you guys are here, we can use the help to do that. Thank you for being here."

Q: What would you like to say to Raider Nation?

Coach Gruden:"I would just like to say that I'm glad to be back. I'm glad to unite with them. I never wanted to leave. I am thrilled to be back and I plan on doing everything that I can with this opportunity. Let's go. That is what I say to Raider Nation. Let's go. Let's stop talking, and let's get to work."

Q: What is your policy with all the things going on with Twitter and Snapchat? What is your policy and how do you control that situation?

Coach Gruden: "Well, that's what's changed. Technology has changed. Technology is incredible. I talked to my kids about Snapchat and Instagram and all that stuff. We're going to have conversations about that. I think you have to monitor it. I think you have to be careful what you read because it's not always true and it's not always positive. You have to be careful what you post because sometimes it backfires against you. But it's no different than talking in a microphone. You're responsible for your actions and we'll talk about that at length with our team."

Q: What's your impression of the overall roster that you're inheriting and what do you think are realistic expectations for the team next season?

Coach Gruden: "This is probably not the time for that kind of question, honestly. I did get a chance to broadcast Oakland against Philadelphia on Christmas night, so I did study their roster. I know they have some injuries. I'm learning about the health of the football team right now. I know they have some talented offensive linemen. They've got a gifted young quarterback. There are some real positive traits to build on, but I'm not going to make any predictions. I'm going to say the same things I said when I was here before. We will get what we deserve and we will see what that is as time unfolds."

Q: If Marshawn Lynch wants to come back next season, do you see him fitting into your scheme in what you want to do offensively?

Coach Gruden:"You know, I've never met Marshawn Lynch. Even as a broadcaster, I asked for Marshawn Lynch in production meetings and I never got to meet him. (laughter) So I'm anxious to sit down with Marshawn and meet him. We'll talk about his future and the Raiders. I can't wait. He came back to the Raiders for similar, I think, reasons that I did. I think he loves Oakland. I think he loves the Raiders and guys like him interest me, so I'm looking forward to talking to him."

Q: Reggie, did you satisfy the Rooney Rule in this search? And if so, can you give us any details on whom you interviewed and when those interviews took place?

McKenzie: "Yes, I did satisfy the Rooney Rule and I interviewed two minorities. The names have already been reported, but they are Bobby Johnson, who was on our staff and also Tee Martin, offensive coordinator at the University of Southern California."

Q: For Mark Davis, could you tell us a little bit about the contract structure and if it is a 10-year deal, was that a requirement for Coach Gruden to come here?

Davis: "Well, it's interesting. The National Football League has a salary cap for players and so it's very competitive and there is parity, so to speak, and I think one of the big differences in teams is the front office or the coaching staffs and those things. There's no cap there. I felt, as I said, for six years that Jon Gruden is the person I want to lead this team and to me the money doesn't really come into play here at all. It never really came into our conversations. I won't get too deep to how it came to that but it really wasn't the number one overwriting issue and I'm comfortable with the way the contract is set up."

Q: Do you feel that you have unfinished business here and how much of that has stuck with you over the years?

Coach Gruden:"Yeah, there is unfinished business. And as a coach, I was traded, I've been fired, I've missed the game terribly, but I've really missed the Raiders. And for my career to end on that night in New England, it still ticks me off. I'm so thrilled to be back here. I hope people understand the emotion inside of me. I feel unfinished business. I also feel a lot of loyalty and I feel a lot of responsibility to get the Raiders going again and it's been a while since we've consistently performed at a high level, and that's really all I care about. I'm going to do everything I can to get this team right again."

Q: A couple of times while you've been away, you've alluded to some of the restrictions of the collective bargaining agreement and how much more difficult it is to train a quarterback with the time allotted. Do you have new philosophies on how to compact information into shorter periods of time?

Coach Gruden: "Yeah, I mean it's tough. My brother's a coach in the NFL with the Redskins. I've spent a lot of time with a lot of different NFL quarterbacks that have come to my office to meet with me because they can't even meet with their own coaches. I mean teams are building these monstrosity facilities and they can't even use them because they're locked out because of the collective bargaining agreement. So look, you can't wear pads on the practice field at times, the lengths of practices, the way training camp unfolds now. There are limitations on what you can do, so it is critical that you spend a lot of time looking at the practice schedules, the meeting schedules, so you can get as much done as possible in a short period of time and I think there is a real skill and a real art to that and certainly that's something we have been researching carefully."

Q: You've had a long time to consider whom you would choose for your coaching staff when this day arrived. Can you detail each of your coordinator choices?

Coach Gruden: "There's a real trick when you become a head coach. You can't just go get the guys you want because they're under contract. A lot of these guys are head coaches now, the guys that you've worked with. But over the years, I have always tried to keep a close group of friends and people that I have a high respect for on red alert just in case an opportunity did arise and Rich Bisaccia was our special teams coach when we won the Super Bowl. He's a special teams coach with the Dallas Cowboys. He's a versatile coach. He coached two positions for me in Tampa. He was a running backs coach and a special teams coach. Great leader of men. He'll do an outstanding job here. Paul Guenther. I met Paul Guenther when my brother was the offensive coordinator of the Bengals. I loved the way the Bengals played defense. Up the field, single gap, get after you. Mike Zimmer, who left Cincinnati and went to Minnesota. I think we all agree they're quite a defensive team. He's a great teacher. He's been able to get a lot of players. Vontaze Burfict, undrafted out of Arizona State, became a star player. He can coach coaches. He can coach a lot of different situations to a high level. And Greg Olson coached Derek Carr for a year here. His intel there will be very important. He coached with me in Tampa and he coached with Sean McVay, one of my ex-assistants, in LA. So, the system of football that we run will be a real natural flow. But I am thrilled to have these three coaches. We've got to hire some others this week and we've got a number of interviews slated starting tomorrow morning."

Q: You're announcing the game last Saturday and yet you're looking forward to the Raiders. What's going through your head? Are you split between the two things?

Coach Gruden: "I was split pretty good. I walked into Arrowhead Stadium earlier in the season twice for the Chiefs-Broncos game and the Chiefs-Redskins game and the fans were really nice to me. And when I walked into the stadium the other day, it was like 1999 all over again. But I love the AFC West. I love the natural rivalries that have been around since I was a kid. But I was split certainly and my juices got going when those Chiefs fans started taunting me."

Q: Over the last several years when you had other coaching opportunities presented to you, in your heart of hearts, were you hoping for this moment and waiting for that moment?

Coach Gruden: "I think I was deep down somewhere. You know, I was at a point in my life where I wanted to be with my family. My sons were at an age where I had a chance to coach in high school, be around them. But this place, this man right here, has a lot to do with why I'm here today. The timing is right. It really doesn't have anything to do with the contract. I just want to be a part of the Raiders again. I want to finish my coaching career as an Oakland Raider and I can't wait to get started."

Q: Reggie, coach brought up your Green Bay days. Can you specifically address your time there and why you think this will work well here in terms of that experience?

McKenzie: "Obviously, a great experience. A lot of great coaches, a lot of great personnel people. Seeing the relationship between Wolf and Coach [Mike] Holmgren, I saw the way it was supposed to be. We saw that. A lot of great decisions were made because it was a team effort. So that's what I saw. And you see what maturated after that. The coaches who have gone on, the personnel people that have gone on, that's instilled in me and we're going to continue to grow from that. I can't wait to get started with Coach Gruden. We're fired up. I'm ready to roll."

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