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Jon Gruden Sounds Off On The State of Football, How The Sport Is Losing Its Soul

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Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was honest in his assessment on the state of football and how the sport may be losing its soul in a new feature by S.L. Price in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated.

Under the CBA, Gruden is limited in how much he can interact with his team during the offseason.

“The state of the game?” Gruden tells SI. “We have to put a GPS in Bobby’s shoulder pad to see if he’s working too hard,” Gruden sighs. “We stop a high school game in Florida three times every half to give ’em a water break. We run a zone-read every play in college—don’t even block the defensive end; we read him—because players can’t push themselves. It’s too risky; somebody had an episode six years ago. . . . Anyway, the Lord sees these gods and says, ‘We’ve got a problem with football. I need you guys to go back to earth and fix this.’”

Gruden tells Price that he believes he is on a personal mission to save football. He has donated money to high schools to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for youth and prep football teams.

“I had to run through the line, not to it; my coach made me do it right,” Gruden says. “And I hated it at times. But if it wasn’t for football, I wouldn’t have any of these benefits. These geniuses tell you, ‘It’s a dangerous game, we shouldn’t play, you can [learn the same things] in drama class.’ I say bulls—.”

Read S.L. Price’s full story here.

Last month, Gruden left the broadcast booth to sign a 10-year deal worth about $100 million to take over on the Raiders’ sidelines. Gruden previously spent four years as the head coach in Oakland from 1998 to 2001. he has a 95–81 career coaching record.

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