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Raider fans still bitter over Gruden’s departure

It’s been about a year since Jon Gruden left as head coach of the Oakland Raiders for greener pastures — and dollars — in Tampa Bay.

But that doesn’t mean the Silver and Black’s die-hard fans have forgotten the slight. This Sunday, Raider fans and everyone else will find out who got the better end of that stick, when Gruden’s Buccaneers battle the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

It looks like even if the Raiders win and manage to show up their old coach, fans may yet harbor some bitter feelings toward the man they feel betrayed them for a few bucks.



“I’m not going to root for him at all. He’s a traitor,” said Jim Brouner of Placerville, who was spotted in Harrah’s wearing the classic black T-shirt of the Raider Nation. “Gruden should never have bailed on them. It was all about money. He’s going to lose.”

Brouner said having one of the oldest offenses and defenses in the league may work to the team’s advantage come this Sunday.




“They have the oldest ‘D’ and some old-timers on ‘O’, and Gruden trained most of them,” he said of the Raiders. “I think they’re going to go out and show him they can still play. This might be their last chance, so they’ll be out there playing with a lot of heart. Al Davis deserves it.”

“It was a bitter departure,” said Raiders fan Mike Lewis of Sutter Creek, also cornered in Harrah’s for his opinion due to the telltale silver-and-black colors of his cap. “It was sad to see him go, because he was a great coach, but I’m a Raiders’ fan all the way.”

And it’s not just tourists who seem to harbor some negativity toward Gruden. Plenty of locals feel the same.

“I hope he loses. I hate the Bucs,” said Sharon Gramprie, co-owner of Rojo’s Restaurant in South Lake Tahoe. “I’ve been here for 21 years and I love the Raiders. I don’t like (Gruden) anymore. He took my heart and soul when he left. I know the Raiders are going to win big.”

Win or lose, it looks to be an ugly day for Gruden and his Buccaneers as they visit San Diego for the big game. There is sure to be plenty of silver and black in the stands, and from the sound of things, the past hasn’t been forgotten. If anything, Raiders fans seem more determined than ever to help their team pick up its first Super Bowl win in nearly 20 years.


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