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Oakland Raiders deny interest in Jon Gruden as coach

The Oakland Raiders put Pro Football Weekly publisher Hub Arkush on blast Wednesday. This was a bad-mouth-you-in-front-of-your-momma-type attack.

Arkush told WSCR-AM in Chicago that the Raiders had begun talks with Jon Gruden about returning as coach. Raiders media relations director Zak Gilbert emailed the media the following response:

"Members of the media: There are two people on this planet that have the ability to make talks happen between Jon Gruden and the Raiders, with regard to him allegedly taking over the football operations, and/or the position of head coach. Each of those individuals, owner Mark Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie, wanted me to communicate that this rumor has no validity whatsoever. And for the record, I'm personally disgusted that Hub Arkush would spread such an untruth on the day our head coach, Dennis Allen, had to determine with his mom, his brother and sister, whether to take his dad off life support or wait and hope that he would regain consciousness. Dennis didn't have an opportunity to say goodbye to his dad, but he did have an opportunity to take a phone call regarding Hub's story."

Gilbert and the Raiders obviously are ticked off. Most teams don't feel the need to send an email in response to a coaching rumor. That kind of thing usually is addressed in a press conference situation. But the Raiders felt it was important to support Allen, their first-year head coach, during a trying time.


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On top of that, the message called out Arkush by name. That shows how enraged the Raiders were because they easily could have commented on the rumor and directly called Arkush with their grievance. The email tries to publicly discredit Arkush. This was personal.

We can't account for Arkush's source of information. We can't say if the Raiders overreacted. But an organization usually would take these kind of issues directly to the writer instead of embarrassing him in front of his/her peers. There seems to be more to this story.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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