AFC Notes: Chiefs, Raiders, Jon Gruden


Chiefs’ LT Orlando Brown spoke about the team continuing to find chemistry on an offensive line that had not played together prior to the 2021 season.

“I definitely feel it’s something that’s gotten better,” Brown said, via “And we’ve gotten better as an offense and offensive line as the weeks have gone on since we’ve been here and we’ve been able to grow together, learn together. Learning from coach [Andy] Heck and all those different things, so we’re all just trying to do our job to the best of our abilities. [It is] just a combination of coach’s [Andy Reid] schemes, a combination of all of us being on the same page and executing our fundamentals at a high level. I think Sunday was just a taste of a little bit of what we can do. We still weren’t spot on completely with a few different things, but we were able to make some good things happen in the run game and hopefully, we can continue to build on that and become a better team running the ball as time goes.”

  • According to Albert Breer, the Chiefs were among several teams who had trade interest in CB Stephon Gilmore had it not been for the cap implications of acquiring his current deal.


Raiders’ HC Jon Gruden and OL coach Tom Cable talked about the team moving rookie Alex Leatherwood from right tackle to right guard, as he has allowed a league-high four sacks.

“Well, look, he’s a work in progress,” Gruden said, via Tashan Reed of The Athletic. “He’s competing. He does have some things to clean up, as we all do, but he’s mentally tough, he’s athletic. I think he’ll continue to get better and better the more he plays, but there’s going to be some growing pains.”

“He’s an extremely strong run blocker,” Cable said. “He’s been a very intelligent player and, again, his athleticism allows him to be able to play multiple positions. He can play guard on either side or, in our opinion, tackle on either side as he continues to mature in the league. We liked the versatility he had when we drafted him. And now, again, as we’re looking at moving guys around, it’s really nothing new. We do it throughout the season in practice because of injury concerns that may happen. We just really have liked his versatility. Not everyone can move inside. He has been inconsistent. There’s good, there’s bad. If he can get off to a great start, his confidence and comfort level will come together. But he hasn’t been able to do that yet, and that’s the challenge. I look at Alex and John as being pretty similar. Once they calm down, they do a lot of good things. They just have to trust themselves and trust their technique and having a short-term memory; that’s what pros do. What I am concerned about is getting them to relax and start out the way we are supposed to. They have to get over the anxiety, or whatever it is, and just relax, communicate better and just cut it loose early. Once we do that, we have a chance to be a pretty good group.”

Jon Gruden

On Friday, Wall Street Journal reported that Raiders HC Jon Gruden previously sent an email with racially insensitive language about NFL Players Association president DeMaurice Smith back in 2011.

“Dumboriss [sic] Smith has lips the size of michellin [sic] tires,” Gruden wrote in the email to then Washington president Bruce Allen. 

Gruden told the Wall Street Journal that he doesn’t recall writing the email. However, he apologized for the language used in the email.

“I’m really sorry,” Gruden said. “I was upset. I used a horrible way of explaining it. . . . I don’t think he’s dumb. I don’t think he’s a liar. I don’t have a racial bone in my body, and I’ve proven that for 58 years.

Gruden explained that he was angry about the lockout and that he didn’t trust the direction the NFLPA was headed. Gruden says he has referred to liars as having “rubber lips” but admits he took it “too far” in this email. 

The NFL issued the following statement regarding Gruden’s email:

The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values. We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”

Gruden later spoke with Paul Gutierrez regarding the email. 

“That might not have been the best time of my life. I vented a lot. There was about to be a lockout and I never felt we were getting the truth and honesty,” Gruden said. “I always refer to a guy I catch as lying as rubber lips. He can’t spit it out. But you can take it the way you want to take it. I’m ashamed I insulted D. Smith. I never had a racial thought when I used it….I’m embarrassed by what’s out there. I certainly never meant for it to sound that bad.

Gruden said he has spoken with Raiders owner Mark Davis and expects to speak with him again. Although, he isn’t sure if he’ll face any consequences from either the team or the NFL for his email. 

“I have no idea,” Gruden said. “I hope not.

Davis later issued a statement on the situation: 

“The content of an email regarding DeMaurice Smith from Jon Gruden when he worked for ESPN 10 years ago is disturbing and not what the Raiders stand for. We were first made aware of the email late yesterday by a reporter and are reviewing it along with other materials provided to us today by the NFL. We are addressing the matter with Coach Gruden and will have no further comment at this time.”

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