The Las Vegas Raiders found leadership from some of their top players in the wake of Jon Gruden stepping down over the email controversy last week, an NFL insider said Sunday.
Peter Schrager said on “FOX NFL Kickoff” that many different parts of the organization needed to step up as Gruden had a say in a lot that went on in the franchise. Schrager said two key players stepped up to lead the locker room as a dark cloud loomed over the organization throughout the week.
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller reacts after scoring a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, in Inglewood, California. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
“If anybody tells you that things were normal and they turned the page Wednesday, Thursday in that building is wrong. In fact, Jon Gruden perhaps more than any other head coach in the league, even more so than Bill Belichick, had his footprints and his handprints in every facet of that organization. So a lot of it was shock on Wednesday and Thursday and then Friday, ‘Hey, you need to step up, you need to step up, you need to fill that void’ in every different part of that franchise,” Schrager said.
“I will tell you this, two players, you mentioned Derek Carr. … The other one that really stepped up as a vocal leader of the players in that room: Darren Waller – the tight end who has not been known as the vocal leader of the Las Vegas Raiders since he got there – he stepped up. He has been a voice. They have really galvanized over the last 48 hours.”
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) warms up before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Las Vegas is on the road to take on the Denver Broncos Sunday.
Rich Bisaccia was named the interim head coach after Gruden stepped down.
Gruden stepped down as head coach of the Raiders after multiple reports showed he used racist remarks, homophobic comments and expressed misogynistic views in emails with former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen while he was an ESPN commentator.
The emails were flagged as part of the NFL’s investigation into the Washington Football Team amid workplace misconduct allegations.
Current or former players, along with people in positions of leadership with NFL clubs, have offered differing opinions this week on how pervasive the sorts of racist, homophobic and misogynistic thoughts expressed by Jon Gruden — in emails he wrote from 2011-18, when he was an ESPN analyst between coaching jobs, to then-Washington club executive Bruce Allen – remain around the sport to this day. (AP Photo/John Hefti, File)
Gruden coached last Sunday after the first email came out, but he didn’t make it through Monday night