The Las Vegas Raiders’ Jon Gruden became the fourth NFL head coach to announce that he had contracted COVID-19.
Gruden, after leading the Raiders to a 34-24 win on Monday night against the New Orleans Saints, casually dropped the news that he “had the virus” before ending his media conference.
Gruden was asked about his mask during the game, which was constantly down around his chin – something the league will likely fine him $100,000 for.
“I’m doing my best,” Gruden said. “I’ve had the virus. I’m doing my best. I’m very sensitive about it, but I’m calling plays. I just wanna communicate in these situations and I apologize and if I get fined I’ll have to pay the fine, but I’m very sensitive about that and I apologize.”
Gruden left the media conference after that statement.
The other coaches who had the coronavirus were the Los Angeles Chargers’ Anthony Lynn, the Saints’ Sean Payton and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Doug Pederson. All four coaches have since recovered.
There have been more than 6.8 million confirmed cases in the United States as of Monday night, according to The New York Times, and nearly 200,000 deaths attributed to it. There were more than 54,000 new cases reported Monday, marking the first time since Sept. 4 that there had been more than 50,000 new cases in the country on a single day.
Gruden reportedly faked that he had coronavirus in training camp
According to Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area Newspaper Group, Gruden said he had the coronavirus in mid-July. It’s not known how severe his bout with it was.
Gruden allegedly made these claims once before. The 57-year-old reportedly had assistant Rich Bisaccia tell his players during a training camp Zoom call in August that he had been hospitalized due to complications from the coronavirus.
The trick at the time, however, was that Gruden had never contracted the coronavirus — an apparent effort to stress to his players how serious the deadly virus is. Gruden later denied that report.
It’s unclear if Gruden was ever hospitalized.
If Gruden had the coronavirus, it’s unclear why he’d feel the need to lie to his team about it like that to make a point, especially since that point could be made based off his actual experience battling the virus. Lynn did just that with his team during their training camp in Southern California. The Zoom call of that moment was even featured on an episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”
Regardless, Gruden is healthy now and on the sideline with the Raiders — who have opened up the season 2-0.
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