The NFL has branded allegations from Jon Gruden as "entirely meritless" after it was announced the former Las Vegas Raiders coach is suing the league following his resignation last month.

Gruden resigned from his post of head coach on October 11 after an investigation into the Washington Football Team revealed numerous offensive emails he sent while working as a television analyst before returning to the coaching ranks. 

His exit came shortly after the New York Times released a story quoting from a trove of emails from the coach's personal account that included multiple racist, homophobic and sexist remarks.

On Friday, Gruden filed a lawsuit against the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell in Nevada's District Court.

Gruden's attorney, Adam Hosmer-Henner, told NFL Network's Tom Pelissero that Gruden is alleging the league and Goodell sought to destroy his career and reputation through a "malicious and orchestrated campaign".

A statement from Hosmer-Henner read: "The complaint alleges that the defendants selectively leaked Gruden's private correspondence to the Wall Street Journal and New York Times in order to harm Gruden's reputation and force him out of his job.

"There is no explanation or justification for why Gruden's emails were the only ones made public out of the 650,000 emails collected in the NFL's investigation of the Washington Football Team or for why the emails were held for months before being released in the middle of the Raiders' season."

In response, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement: "The allegations are entirely meritless and the NFL will vigorously defend against these claims."

Jon Gruden's resignation as head coach was used as a catalyst to inspire the Las Vegas Raiders to victory over the Denver Broncos, according to quarterback Derek Carr.

The Raiders were rocked last week when Gruden stepped down after an investigation revealed numerous offensive emails he sent while working as a television analyst.

Gruden apologised for any hurt caused by the messages, which are alleged to have contained racist, homophobic and sexist content.

A tumultuous week for the Raiders ended on a positive note, though, thanks to a 34-24 win over the Broncos on Sunday as they snapped a two-game losing run and improved to 4-2. 

Carr starred in Rich Bisaccia's first game as interim head coach, throwing 341 yards and two touchdowns in completing 18 of 27 passes.

The 30-year-old's passer rating of 134.4 was his highest in almost three years and came at the perfect time for his side. 

"We needed a win bad this week," he said. "Sometimes when you get punched in the gut, it's hard to bounce back. But we were able to do it.

"If anything, what's happened the this heightened our intensity, it heightened our focus. 

"More now than ever, we had to step up and be a voice. There will be a time for all the emotions, but now is not the time. 

"It sucks not hugging 'Gru' after a game like that. Some of the plays we ran, he would have been so fired up, but it is what it is and we need to move forward. 

"For those three hours, it's definitely easier to just focus on football."

Carr's fourth 300-plus passing yard game of the season is the second-most ever of any Raiders player after six games after Rich Gannon, who had five at this stage in 2002.

The Raiders forced four turnovers in defense and committed zero turnovers of their own – the first time that has happened since the 1988 season against the Kansas City Chiefs.

For Bisaccia, it marked a first win in what was his first game as a head coach at any level.

"The best part for me was to be able to get on the grass," he said after the triumph at Empower Field at Mile High. "The worst part for me was figuring out the headset! 

"Once you get on the field and the game goes, a lot of my responsibilities were the same. It's emotional for everybody, right? 

"I think they did a good job. It's a bunch of grown men, handling their emotions throughout the week, putting them in perspective when it was time to go play the game. 

"It's a job for all of us. They seemed to do a really good job with it. We'll see what goes on."

Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock insisted the franchise stand for diversity in the wake of Jon Gruden's controversial resignation.

Mayock became the first Raiders member to address the media on Wednesday after Gruden stood down following the release of offensive emails via The Wall Street Journal and New York Times, which exposed his use of racist, homophobic and misogynistic terms in messages that reportedly date back to 2010.

Raiders owner Mark Davis had provided a brief statement following Gruden's resignation, stating he accepted his decision amid the NFL's investigation was prompted by media reports that brought to light the alleged emails.

"The way I grew up, the Raiders always stood for diversity," Mayock told the news conference. "They had the first Latino quarterback, Tom Flores, he's also became the second Latino head coach, the first African-American head coach was Art Shell. The first female CEO was Amy Trask.

"Obviously, all of that was under [former owner] Al Davis' watch. Now this week, his son Mark Davis had a tough time. He had a tough week. He'd gather facts here to do is due diligence.

"Since the day I took this job almost three years ago, what Mr. Davis has preached has been three things. It's been diversity, social justice and domestic violence."

Mayock also defended the timing of Gruden's departure, after he led the side in their Week 5 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

"I think the reality of that is that Mark Davis really is the one that was dealing with that," Mayock said. "I don't want to speak for Mark, but there was an awful lot of due diligence that had to go on. 

"All I knew was that a bombshell had dropped. The players talked about it. We talked about it with the players. Jon dealt with it. Mark was dealing with all the email stuff. 

"We were trying to prepare for a football game. And then when it came out of the game and the rest of it came out, I think Mark was already in the middle of the due diligence.

"I think he was trying to figure it all out. I know what the guy stands for, and I think he was trying to do the right thing."

Mayock said the Raiders were offering support to the African-American players within their ranks, along with defensive end Carl Nassib, who became the first active NFL player to publicly come out as gay in June. Nassib took a personal day on Wednesday in the aftermath of Gruden's resignation.

"I've talked to several of the black players. We've reached out to a bunch of players, black and white," Mayock said. "Everybody's got emotions and feelings. I've talked to some of the people in my department that are black.

"My director of pro scouting [Dwayne Joseph], and I just said, 'DJ, I can't put myself in your shoes. Help me.' So we've spent a pretty good amount of time trying to help these guys and talk with these guys and not talk at them, but with them.

"The other thing I would say is for Carl, let's be honest, he's a community of one that's openly gay. We do have a large community of African-American players and I'm trying to, we're trying to do everything we can for that community as well obviously. It started there. Nobody's forgetting that. I'm trying to work with everyone, and we're going to continue to do that."

The Raiders GM offered a strong backing to interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, who will step up from the special teams coordinator with the side 3-2 for the season.

"The irony is, I've endorsed him for a lot of head coaching jobs over the years, both in college and the NFL," Mayock said. "What I've always told people when I endorse them is that he's the most natural leader of men that I've ever been around."

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have removed Jon Gruden from their Ring of Honor following the release of offensive emails from their former coach.

Gruden resigned from his post as Las Vegas Raiders coach on Monday following articles in The Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

The pieces exposed Gruden's use of racist, homophobic and misogynistic terms in emails that reportedly date back to 2010.

Gruden, who came out of retirement to take over at the Raiders in 2018, spent six years in Tampa between 2002 and 2008.

He led the team to victory at Super Bowl XXXVII and was inducted into the franchise's Ring of Honor in 2017.

However, following the controversy, Gruden has now been stripped of this accolade, with the reigning Super Bowl champions releasing a statement on Tuesday.

"The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have advocated for purposeful change in the areas of race relations, gender equality, diversity and inclusion for many years," the franchise said.

"While we acknowledge Jon Gruden’s contributions on the field, his actions go against our core values as an organisation. Therefore, he will no longer continue to be a member of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor."

Jon Gruden has resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after an investigation into another NFL team revealed numerous offensive emails he sent while working as a television analyst before returning to the coaching ranks. 

NFL Network first reported Gruden was out in Las Vegas approximately one hour after the New York Times released a story quoting from a trove of emails from the coach's personal account that included multiple racist, homophobic and sexist remarks. 

Gruden released a statement confirming his exit and saying he never meant to hurt anyone. The statement read: "I have resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone."

Raiders owner Mark Davis also released a statement, saying only that he had accepted Gruden's resignation. 

NFL Network and ESPN reported Gruden and Davis met at the team's facility Monday to discuss the matter and the coach tendered his resignation. 

Assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia will take over as interim head coach, the team said. 

The emails, which were sent between 2011 and 2018 while Gruden was an analyst for ESPN, surfaced as part of the NFL's investigation into workplace misconduct allegations at the Washington Football Team. 

Gruden's brother Jay was head coach in Washington from 2014-19, and Gruden's ties with then-Washington team president Bruce Allen date back to his first stint as Raiders coach from 1998 to 2001, when Allen worked in the team's front office. 

Gruden left ESPN and returned to the Raiders in January 2018, going 22-31 including a 3-2 record so far this season. 

According to the emails quoted by the Times, Gruden used homophobic slurs in deriding NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who he also criticised for introducing female officials to the game. 

The Times report came three days after the Wall Street Journal revealed a 2011 email in which Gruden wrote that NFL Players' Association executive director De Maurice Smith had "lips the size of michellin tires".

An NFL spokesman called those remarks "appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL's values" and Davis released a statement saying the remarks were "disturbing and not what the Raiders stand for".

Gruden apologised, saying he was "ashamed" and "embarrassed" but did not intend his words to be a racial slur. 

The 58-year-old is 117-111 as an NFL head coach, leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl title in 2002. 

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis says the language used by head coach Jon Gruden in an email 10 years ago is "disturbing" amid allegations it was racist.

Davis, who at the time was a lead analyst for ESPN, wrote to the Washington Football Team's president in July 2011 where he said NFL Players' Association executive director DeMaurice Smith had "lips the size of michellin tires" according to The Journal.

Gruden claimed he did not recall the email, while NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy labelled the language as "appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL's values".

The Raiders owner called it "disturbing" and said they were reviewing the matter, suggesting possible disciplinary action.

“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," Davis said in a statement.

"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."

Gruden claimed that the remark was not intended to be racial, insisting it related to the term "rubber lips" for someone who lies a lot and that he was embarrassed by the situation.

"I'm ashamed I insulted De Smith," Gruden told ESPN. "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."

The Las Vegas Raiders sounded like a team that got away with something Monday night. 

From quarterback Derek Carr to head coach Jon Gruden, they acknowledged there were any number of flaws in their season-opening performance against the Baltimore Ravens. 

But all that mattered in the end was that they found a path to victory, prevailing 33-27 in overtime before a raucous home crowd. 

"All I keep saying is I just want to win, so who cares if it's ugly or pretty?" Carr told reporters after the game. "I do not care, we won the game. I'm celebrating, that's the only thing that matters."

Carr completed 34 of 56 passes for 435 yards, saving the biggest completion for the final play of the game – a looping 31-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones when everyone in the stadium figured the Raiders would run the ball to set up a field goal try. 

Gruden indicated that was exactly what he had planned but kicker Daniel Carlson was not immediately available on the sidelines, forcing a delay of game penalty that prompted him to send Carr and the offence back out on the field. 

"But things worked out," Gruden said with a wry smile. 

They did indeed, as the Raiders stunned a favoured Ravens team that felt in control for much of the game before falling apart late. 

"I'm glad coach trusted us and put it in our hands at the end," said Carr, "because it always feels good to win that way – especially when you almost gave it away."

After rallying to level the game in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, the Raiders thought they had the game won on the opening possession of overtime as Carr hit Bryan Edwards for an apparent 33-yard touchdown. 

But video replay determined Edwards was down just before the goal line, and after a run for no gain by Carr, a critical false start penalty and an incompletion, Anthony Averett intercepted Carr in the end zone following a deflection on a pass intended for Willie Snead. 

The Raiders were granted a reprieve, though, as Carl Nassib forced a fumble on a sack of Lamar Jackson with 4:31 to play in overtime to set up Carr's game-winning pass. 

"Our defence made a signature play at the end of that game and I thought Derek Carr was awesome playing under some really tough circumstances today against a very good defence," Gruden said.

He added: "I'm really proud of the character they showed. We were down 14-0 to the Ravens and it didn't look pretty, it didn't look good. But when you can come back and find a way to win against a team like that, that's saying something. 

"That's an impressive, impressive victory and like they say here, just win baby."

A permanent residency in Las Vegas. It's what so many performers around the world dream of getting, but in 2020 the Raiders were left delivering a mediocre performance to a non-existent audience in their first year in the desert. 

Their mammoth new Allegiant Stadium home was left empty due to restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Raiders again flattered to deceive, an exciting opening act giving way to an underwhelming finale that ended hopes of a postseason encore. 

Under normal circumstances, a third successive season in which the Raiders missed the playoffs would lead to pressure on Jon Gruden. 

But because the Raiders rolled the dice by giving Gruden a 10-year contract, the head coach is a long way from the hot seat during his second spell with the franchise. 

Playing in a division alongside Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, plus Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers, the Raiders face a tough challenge to contend in the AFC West. 

The pressure on Gruden may finally come should they miss the postseason again in 2021, but what can the Raiders do to ensure their first season with fans in Vegas results in a playoff berth? 

Here, with the help of Stats Perform data, we reflect on the Raiders' 2020 season and assess what they can learn from an 8-8 year.

Offense

The Raiders failed in their pursuit of a Wild Card spot despite an impressive year from much-maligned quarterback Derek Carr, who threw for a career-high 4,103 passing yards and finished the season in a three-way tie for fifth in yards per attempt with an average of 7.94. 

Where Carr made clear and significant strides was as a deep-ball thrower. 

On passes of 21 air yards or more, Carr had a passer rating of 124.2, throwing for 10 touchdowns and one interception. Among quarterbacks to have attempted at least 25 such passes, his rating put him fourth in the league, behind only Daniel Jones, Aaron Rodgers and Kyler Murray. 

The exciting thing for the Raiders is there is clear room for him to grow in that area. 

While Carr was much improved pushing the ball downfield, his rapport with Raiders speedster Henry Ruggs III still needs work. 

Carr had 54 completions of at least 20 yards but first-round pick Ruggs registered only eight receptions of 20 yards or more. 

The average distance on those Ruggs receptions was 40.4 yards, putting him fifth among receivers to have had at least five catches of 20-plus yards. 

If Carr and Ruggs can develop their downfield chemistry, opposing defenses will have more reason to fear the passing game, potentially opening things up further for Pro Bowl tight end Darren Waller underneath and a running game that underwhelmed in 2020. 

Though Josh Jacobs scored 12 touchdowns, the Raiders averaged 4.19 yards per rush, the 19th-best mark in the NFL.

There will be onus on Jacobs and the offensive line to improve drastically in that regard but, should Carr make further progress going deep and force defenses to focus on the pass, everyone else's jobs will become a little bit easier.

Defense

Save for occasional flashes - the shackling of Mahomes and the Chiefs in the second half of their Week 5 win at Arrowhead Stadium being the most prominent example - the Raiders defense failed to live up to the significant investment in that side of the ball.

Indeed, the Raiders continued to struggle to contain opposing offenses in 2020, allowing 5.99 yards per play, the seventh-worst mark in the NFL.

They were one of just six teams to give up over seven yards per pass play, with the Raiders' issues on defense leading to the firing of coordinator Paul Guenther.

Las Vegas will hope that Gus Bradley - Guenther's replacement - will be the man to oversee a turnaround.

To do that, Bradley will need to help deliver a significant upturn in production from the Raiders' pass rush. They finished the season with 21 sacks - just three teams had fewer - with edge rusher Maxx Crosby seeing his numbers drop from 10 sacks as a rookie to seven in 2020.

A first-round pick in 2019, Clelin Ferrell had just 2.5 sacks, with the Raiders' inability to get consistent pressure a factor in them allowing a passer rating of 108.9 on opponent throws of 21 air yards or more.

That number also raises questions about a young and exploitable secondary that has found it difficult to produce turnovers.

Las Vegas ranked 30th in takeaways with a meagre 15, with their 10 interceptions tied for 23rd.

Having consistently failed to pressure quarterbacks and to take the ball away, there is significant room for improvement on defense, but the Raiders do not have the financial flexibility with which to add players who can aid their cause.

Offseason

Even after one of the best seasons of his career, there has again been talk about the Raiders trading Carr in the hope of finding an upgrade at quarterback. 

The more likely scenario is that the Raiders parlay Marcus Mariota's one appearance last season, in which he excelled in relief of the injured Carr, into a trade that can net them more draft capital. 

With the Raiders poised to be over $9million above an assumed salary cap of $185m, potentially limiting their options in free agency, those extra draft picks would be welcomed. 

Regardless of how many picks the Raiders end up with, the areas of need are obvious. 

Pass-rush help both on the edge and on the interior of the defensive line is a must, as is an infusion of athleticism at linebacker, last year's free-agent signings Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski proving ill-equipped to help the Raiders stop the threats posed by modern passing attacks. 

Making those additions to the front seven will be crucial to the progress Gruden and the Raiders hope they can make in the fourth year of his tenure. 

Should the Raiders fail to identify the correct players at those spots, the ceiling of this team may again be limited in 2021 irrespective of any further strides from Carr.

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