ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Chaos has often been used to describe the state of the Las Vegas Raiders but their disarray was elevated to rare levels this week following the forced resignation of their head coach Jon Gruden.
The Denver Broncos happen to be the first team to play the Raiders after it was revealed first on Friday, then on Monday, that Gruden had written racist, homophobic and misogynistic e-mails to former Washington general manager Bruce Allen over the past decade.
The NFL season carries on. What do the Broncos expect from the Raiders this Sunday afternoon in the AFC West Division matchup at Empower Field at Mile High?
“Knowing Derek (Carr) personally, I know he’s a guy who’s going to rally those guys together,’’ Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said Wednesday about the Raiders’ quarterback. “He’s a great leader, he’s a great man, and a lot of people respect him. I know I respect him. I know he’s a guy who’s capable of pulling his troops together and keeping the focus.
“We have to go out there and play the game we know how to play and make it about us.”
Broncos star safety Justin Simmons has used his platform as an NFL player the past 18 months or so to speak out in the name of racial justice. You bet, he followed the Gruden episode closely and has discussed the matter with his friends in the locker room.
“We definitely talk about it,’’ he said. “It can be concerning at times. Because you just don’t know people’s intentions and people’s thoughts and their motives and their heart posture.
“I won’t speak on Gruden because I don’t really know him all that well. I know Aqib (Talib, former Broncos cornerback) really well and Aqib says that doesn’t sound like the guy that drafted me in Tampa. But yeah guys in the locker room talk about that stuff.
“I think that’s important that we have been talking about it, or at least we’ve been putting the spotlight on it the past few years especially in the NFL with the logos on the back of the helmet or the back of the end zones.
“I think that’s why it’s important to have different cultures in those positions. Because you’re not getting it all from set of any type of person. Obviously qualified. You’ve got to be qualified to be in those positions but I think that’s why it’s important you get different backgrounds, you get different opinions and you get different things flowing.’’
Broncos head coach Vic Fangio strongly denounced the content that was in Gruden’s e-mails.
“There’s no place in the world, let alone our league for the opinions that were expressed then, and especially the words used to express those opinions,’’ Fangio said. “Myself and the organization are definitely against that. It was a bad situation.”
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