Jon Gruden disputes report that he has never talked with Raiders star Khalil Mack

Jon Gruden and Khalil Mack don't talk often, but they have spoken at least once over the past six months, according to the Raiders head coach. 

Gruden had to answer several questions about his relationship with Mack on Friday after a report from July 26 indicated that Gruden and the Raiders' star pass-rusher hadn't spoken to each other a single time since Gruden was hired in January. 

During an interview with Fox Sports Radio on Friday, Gruden disputed the report and said that the two have talked, it just happened a few months ago. 

"I did speak with him when I got the job," Gruden told JT the Brick. "When I first got hired, I spoke with him."

However, Gruden did admit that the two haven't really had any conversations since then. 

"He's been a hard guy to get in contact with lately, for obvious reasons," Gruden said. "This is a great football player, not only that, he's a great guy. And everybody on our team respects him and loves him. We hope to get him in here soon."

The fact that Gruden hasn't spoken to Mack lately isn't necessarily a bad thing and that's because he's not the one trying to get Mack into training camp. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is the one who has been handling negotiations with Mack's camp. 

"I think Reggie McKenzie is the guy you should talk to," Gruden said. "He's the man talking to Joel Segal -- the agent -- and we'll just cross our fingers [that a deal gets done]."

Mack is currently holding out of training camp because he's hoping to land a lucrative contract extension. The 27-year-old, who was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2016, is hoping to get a long-term deal that includes a substantial raise over the $13.8 million he's scheduled to make in 2018 under the final year of his rookie contract.  

Although it's not clear how negotiations are going right now, the Athletic's John Middlekauff didn't paint a pretty picture last week. According to Middlekauff, things are "ugly" and "tense" right now between the two sides because Mack's camp doesn't think the offensive-minded Gruden truly values defense.

That being said, if things are tense between Mack and the Raiders, he seems to be doing a good job of keeping his emotions on the inside. The team's star defensive player has even been having some fun with the team's star quarterback. 

Carr is hoping that things with Mack get worked out as soon as possible.

"I think it's fair to say that we would all love to have Khalil here," Carr said Friday, via the Raiders' official website. "If I tried to answer it politically correct and all those things, we all know that we want him back."

As for Gruden, he's going to worry about the players who are currently in camp.  

"In the meantime, we brought in Arden Key in the third round to make a difference. Let's go," Gruden said. "And Bruce Irvin's back at his natural position. Faldol Brown, some of these newcomers have got to take the ball and run with it until Khalil gets here. We hope it's soon."

With Mack a no-show so far at training camp, the Raiders have placed him on the reserve/did not report list, which means the team can theoretically start fining him up to $40,000 for each day of camp he misses.

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories