Jon Gruden claims Khalil Mack 'didn't want to play' for Raiders

Ali Thanawalla
NBC Sports BayArea

One week ago, Raiders coach Jon Gruden sat in a packed media room at the team's facility in Alameda and answered every question from reporters about the trade that sent 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack to the Bears.

Among all the answers Gruden provided, he didn't give one quite like he did to a familiar face this weekend.

"Obviously, Khalil Mack didn't want to play here," Gruden told ESPN's Lisa Salters. "That's what's being missed here. He was under contract. He was under contract. He never showed up for an OTA, he never showed up for training camp, and it was obvious he wasn't going to show up for the season. So, don't forget that.

"We have to get ready to play, and I want players that want to be here, that want to help us put this thing back in high gear."

The full interview is expected to air during ESPN's Monday Night Football coverage of the Raiders' season opener against the Rams. Gruden served as color analyst for Monday Night Football before leaving the booth this year to return to the Raiders.

On Sunday, NBC's Cris Collinsworth relayed a story on air in which he stated Mack said a phone call from Gruden would have helped contract negotiations.

It appears the spin is coming in strong from both sides. Which side is more believable?


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