The return of Chucky: Raider boo birds sure to razz Gruden
Rest your vocal chords over the next two days Raider Nation, you’re gonna need ’em come Sunday.
For those sorry excuses for Oakland Raider fans who haven’t had this date circled on their Silver and Black pocket calendar for months, that’s the day Chucky – Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Jon Gruden to the uninitiated – makes a return to Oakland’s Network Associates Coliseum for a Week 3 showdown with his former team.
There’s no doubt Gruden, the ultra-intense coaching prodigy who owns the world’s second-ranked sneer – 1980s-era rocker Billy Idol holds down the top spot if you’re keeping track at home – will get the business from the notoriously opinionated Oakland fan base.
I can almost hear them now.
‘WE DON’T APPRECIATE YOUR PRESENCE HERE!!’
‘YOUR ABILITIES TO COACH ARE SUBPAR AT BEST!!’
All right, they may be a little more coarse, but you get the picture:
Gruden’s dead meat.
And why not?
Wasn’t he the guy who, after coaching the Ray-dahs for four seasons, left for the bright lights of Tampa Bay for the 2003 season, then promptly crushed Oakland in the Super Bowl?
Wasn’t he the guy who tweaked Al Davis’ nose, then gave him a wedgie during the exit interview?
Okay, I made that last bit up, but it’s clear Gruden should be a persona non grata in the Bay Area two days hence.
Raiders offensive lineman Frank Middleton told The Associated Press he hopes the Black Hole gets into Gruden’s head from the get-go and rides him ’til the final whistle.
“I hope they boo him and throw stuff at him and just make his day miserable,” he said. “I hope they distract him from calling good plays. That would be huge, man.”
Gruden, whose team enters the game at 0-2 and has bubkus by way of offensive touchdowns, told the same Associated Press writer he can’t help but smile when he looks back on his time on the Raiders’ sideline.
“I had great fun there. I really appreciated the fans, particularly those guys in the Black Hole. The experience and the motivation they gave me for four years was something,” he said.
Hey Jon, you’d be well served to bring every last one of those fond memories when you walk onto the field Sunday.
And maybe some ear plugs too.
Keith Jiron is a sports reporter for The Union. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 477-4240.
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