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Jon Gruden doesn’t view Khalil Mack’s absence as a distraction

Vincent Frank
Khalil Mack

As the Oakland Raiders prepare for their second preseason game of the year, former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack remains away from the team.

A holdout throughout offseason activities and training camp, Mack is aiming for a lucrative long-term extension from the Raiders.

The problem here is that the two sides have not been in contact over the past few months, leading to speculation that Oakland might look to move the all-world pass rusher.

In talking about the Mack situation, first-year Raiders head coach Jon Gruden seemingly had a company line response. Not only that, he doesn’t view Mack’s absence as a distraction for the team.

“I don’t think it’s been a distraction,” Gruden said, via ESPN. “It’s obviously, for me, been disappointing. You want to have your best player here. This guy is really a great guy, too. I’m disappointed we don’t have him here. Going to try to get him here as soon as we can. In the time being, you’ve got to move on. You’ve got to get up and go to work. That’s one thing I’m very proud of what we’ve done here.”

Short of the two sides coming to terms on an extension, Mack will remain away from the Raiders throughout the remainder of the preseason. In the process, he faces a lofty fine for every game he misses.

Needless to say, Mack and his camp are not about to bite. Meanwhile, it doesn’t seem like the Raiders are about to be moved from their current position. It could lead to some early struggles once Mack does return to the team.

Heck, there’s a chance drama will be the name of the game in Oakland once that happens. But for now, Gruden doesn’t seem too worried.