ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Jon Gruden hopes he’ll finally get the chance to meet Marshawn Lynch now that he’s coach of the Oakland Raiders.
After having numerous requests turned down by the media-adverse Beast Mode during his tenure as an ESPN announcer, Gruden now is officially Lynch’s coach after being introduced Tuesday for his second stint with the Raiders.
“You know, I’ve never met Marshawn Lynch. Even as a broadcaster, I asked for Marshawn Lynch in production meetings and I never got to meet him,” Gruden said.
“So I’m anxious to sit down with Marshawn and meet him. We’ll talk about his future and the Raiders. I can’t wait. He came back to the Raiders for similar, I think, reasons that I did. I think he loves Oakland. I think he loves the Raiders and guys like him interest me, so I’m looking forward to talking to him.”
Lynch came out of retirement this past season to join the Raiders. He said he made the move to give something back to his hometown of Oakland before the team moves to Las Vegas in 2020.
Lynch’s status is one of the questions facing the Raiders this off-season. He got off to a slow start in his return, rushing for just 266 yards in the first half of the season and getting suspended one game for shoving an official after coming off the bench during a scuffle against Kansas City.
He was a completely different player after that, rushing for 524 yards and five TDs in his final eight games. His average of 78.1 yards rushing per game in that span was tied for third best in the league.
“I thought he finished great,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “Everybody was saying that he was going to tail off at the end. He did just the opposite. He ran harder at the end just like he did at the beginning. There was no drop-off there.”
Lynch has a contract for next season worth about $6 million, including a $1 million roster bonus due in March after the start of the new league year. McKenzie said any decision on Lynch’s status would come after a meeting with the new coaching staff.
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