Raiders tight end: 'I probably shouldn't have grabbed' Jon Gruden during sideline argument

Yahoo Sports

Oakland Raiders tight end Lee Smith learned a valuable lesson Sunday. Even if your intentions are good, you probably shouldn’t grab your head coach by the back of the neck.

Smith raised plenty of eyebrows Sunday after he did just that while Raiders coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr were arguing on the sideline. 

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Smith explained that his contact was not done in an aggressive manner. It was meant to be a joke, according to ESPN.

“It was just, I happened to be in the vicinity and I saw the wild man’s face red,” Smith joked of Gruden, “so I figured I’d join the party.

“Coach Gruden’s a wild man, he’s a lot of fun to be around, so I told him, the way he’s going to go to the grave is having a stroke on the sideline. It was all in fun. It was all good. There was no intent to be angry at anybody. It was just our head coach and our quarterback were being competitive. … They’re the two most important people on the team.”

Though he meant well, Smith also admitted that was the wrong time to grab his head coach.

“I probably shouldn’t have grabbed the head coach,” Smith said, “but I got a little fired up. But it was all in good fun. No negativity at all.”

Gruden did not provide specifics when asked about Smith’s role in the sideline argument.

Despite yelling at each other on the sideline, the Raiders managed to pull off a 23-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 11. With the win, the Raiders improved to 2-8 on the season.

The win may have killed any lingering bad blood. All three parties downplayed the sideline fight following the contest.

Jon Gruden was grabbed by Lee Smith during Sunday’s game. (AP Photo/John Hefti)
Jon Gruden was grabbed by Lee Smith during Sunday’s game. (AP Photo/John Hefti)

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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