Gruden: Players are ‘dying’ to play for Raiders

Jon Gruden’s first season back with the Oakland Raiders has been marked by a 1-6 record and trading two of the team’s biggest stars.

He says that hasn’t affected other players’ desire to play for his team next season, however.

In an interview with Fox Sports that will air Thursday night before Oakland’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, Gruden tells former Raiders great Howie Long that players around the league have expressed their desire to play for him in 2019. Fox Sports released a preview of the interview Thursday morning.

“I got a cellphone just like you and everybody else. I get a lot of phone calls from people that are dying to come play here. I’m just telling you. They’re dying to play for the Raiders,” Gruden said.

“And to have salary-cap space and to have a chance to talk to the people that you really want to wear the Silver and Black, the guys you really want to wear the Silver and Black and represent this team, that’s exciting.”

Gruden is in the first season of a 10-year contract he signed to return as coach. His tenure began with the trade of star pass-rusher Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears in a deal that netted the team first-round picks in 2019 and 2020. Last week, the Raiders traded wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for a 2019 first-round pick.

On the field, the team is in last place in the AFC West with its lone win coming in Week 4, a 45-42 overtime victory over the Cleveland Browns.

The Raiders are estimated to have $68 million in salary-cap space in 2019, according to Oakland also will have three first-round picks in the 2019 draft.

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