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Oakland Raiders tight end Lee Smith reportedly “grabbed” head coach Jon Gruden by the back of the neck on the sidelines during Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals to calm him down, according to Chris Townsend of 95.7 The Game (via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN).
Gruden was arguing with quarterback Derek Carr after a play, and Smith apparently got involved.
However, Townsend later added “all three were smiles with each other before the offense went back out.”
Smith isn’t much of a receiving threat at tight end but has appeared in all 10 games this year, playing both special teams and helping as a blocker in the offense.
The 30-year-old, who is in his fourth season with Oakland, has also been a staunch defender of Carr in the past, including last month when there were questions about the quarterback’s leadership.
“Attacking him as a leader on this football team is a joke,” Smith said of Carr in October, per Gutierrez. “I hope everyone hears me loud and clear what a joke it is. It’s frustrating, it’s annoying and it’s laughable and not fair to him when it is obviously not coming from inside this locker room.”
Meanwhile, Gruden is in his first year with the team after signing a 10-year contract in the offseason, and things haven’t been going to plan. The squad entered Sunday with a 1-8 record, and some players seem to be at their limit.