Once the crown jewel of the Las Vegas (technically, Oakland) Raiders’ defense, Khalil Mack now wears baby blue and plays for the Los Angeles Chargers. After seeing some of his best years dwindle away in Chicago, Mack returned to the AFC West, where he’ll face his old team twice a year. Interestingly enough, Mack took a shot at the Raiders (sort of) and assures everyone that he’s still looking for some revenge.
Raiders fans will recall that Mack was shipped out when the team came under the thumb of Jon Gruden. Upon his return, Gruden was essentially the de-facto boss of the Silver and Black. Even though Reggie McKenzie stayed on for another season with Gruden, the writing was on the wall given the team’s struggles. The Gruden-McKenzie dynamic lasted less than a season. However, prior to that, both McKenzie and Gruden had publicly stated that making sure Mack stayed on for the long run was a priority. Instead, the opposite happened.
Is there an issue between Khalil Mack and Jon Gruden?
Even though Mack never publicly lambasted Gruden, there was always a sense that something was amiss. Mack’s exit was both unexpected and, looking back, downright embarrassing. The best player on the roster was shipped off for a handful of draft picks. Those picks, by the way, went to waste in the hands of Gruden. As for Mack, you could see publicly he still had his friendship with Derek Carr. On top of that, he never took shots at his teammates. Recently, however, he did take a dig at the former powers that be, though they remained nameless.
#Chargers Khalil Mack on facing #Raiders and if it is a revenge game anymore: “I mean the people that I didn’t like probably aren’t there anymore. I’ll always have respect for the organization. It has calmed down (from the first two meetings). It’s still the same. You’ll see.”
â€” Joe Reedy (@joereedy) September 9, 2022
Joe Reedy of the Associated Press quoted Mack earlier today. While Mack essentially stated that he still looks forward to playing the Raiders, the tension that once existed has dissipated. That’s mostly due to the fact that the folks he “didn’t like” are no longer employed. Ouch.
The whole debacle and sheer disappointment surrounding the #Raiders, Gruden, and Mack will make for an intriguing Chapter 2/3 in a tell-all book by the former head coach one day.#RaiderNation https://t.co/UcZaBZ0bGf
â€” RaiderRamble.comâ„¢ (@TheRaiderRamble) September 9, 2022Â
The whole debacle and sheer disappointment surrounding the Raiders, Gruden, and Mack is the stuff of legend. Let’s not mince words; Mack should’ve, by all accounts, been a Raider. The decision to trade Mack is just another item in a long list of blunders that are now defining Gruden’s second run.
*Top Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports