“It’s really an unfortunate situation that’s gone on with the Raiders and coach Gruden,” McVay said to open his routine pre-practice news conference on Wednesday. “Hated that so many people have been negatively affected by this, thoughts and prayers are with all those people that are, and really just want to leave it at that.”
Gruden resigned from his position Monday night following a New York Times report that revealed leaked emails from him that used racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language. McVay’s uncle, Jim McVay, was among recipients listed on some of the emails, which were part of a league investigation into workplace misconduct with the Washington Football Team.
When Gruden served as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he hired McVay for his first NFL job, naming him an assistant receivers coach in 2008.
Since becoming head coach of the Rams, the 35-year-old McVay has repeatedly expressed gratitude and appreciation for what Gruden, 58, has meant to him and his family, while emphasizing how much it’s meant to have Gruden as a mentor.
Despite an initial effort to focus Wednesday’s news conference on the Rams’ (4-1) upcoming matchup at the 1-4 New York Giants (1 p.m. ET, Fox), McVay answered 10 questions regarding Gruden’s situation.
“Just sad about it,” McVay said when asked for his reaction to the content of Gruden’s emails. “It’s unfortunate and just want to really leave it at that.”
When asked to clarify what aspect of the situation caused him sadness, whether it be the content or the fallout for Gruden, McVay expanded.
“All of the above,” McVay said. “I just think it’s a really unfortunate circumstance. So I’m sad for the many people that have been negatively affected, anybody that was offended by this, there’s a lot of families, there’s a lot of things that go into this and there’s a lot of people that have been affected and that’s what I’m sad about. It’s kind of a sad commentary all around and it’s unfortunate that we’re even talking about it right now.”
McVay said he has not been in contact with Gruden since the news of his resignation broke and despite coaching for the Washington Football Team from 2010 to 2016, McVay said he was not contacted by the NFL as part of its investigation.
Despite McVay’s longstanding relationship with Gruden, McVay said the content of Gruden’s emails came as a surprise.
“All I know is I can only speak on my individual interactions with him,” McVay said. “I haven’t seen any of those types of things that you would expect, that kind of stuff to come out in writing or whatever. We are responsible for the things that we do say, but I have not seen that side of him and I was surprised by that.”
Marcus Maye doesn’t want to be traded, says New York Jets ‘know I want to be here’
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Despite a recent tweet by his agent that suggested he’s open to a trade, New York Jets safety Marcus Maye said Thursday that he wants to remain with the team — a sentiment he shared with Jets officials.
“They know I want to be here,” Maye said. “They know I’m 100% with my guys.”
The NFL trading deadline is Nov. 2, and Maye’s name is floating in the rumor mill. The Jets (1-4) are on the verge of falling out of contention, and there’s some question as to whether they want to sign him to a long-term contract extension. Maye, 28, is playing on a $10.6 million franchise tag.
A few days after a Week 3 ankle injury, Maye’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, tweeted it would be a three- to four-week injury, adding that Maye would be healthy by the trading deadline. That fueled the speculation.
Maye, speaking to reporters for the first time since then, said he has no control over what his agent tweets, adding that it was just an injury update.
He said he has not — and will not — request a trade. He wants to remain with the Jets, the team that drafted him in the second round in 2017.
“Yeah, of course, I’m here,” said Maye, who wanted a contract last offseason that would’ve made him one of the league’s highest-paid safeties. “Every time I’m in this building, I’m 100%. Every time I’m on the field, I’m 100%. I’m going to be with my guys no matter what.”
Maye, who has missed two games with his injury, is poised to return to the lineup Sunday against the New England Patriots (2-4) at Gillette Stadium.
His long-term future could be impacted by pending DUI charges, stemming from a Feb. 22 arrest in Broward County, Florida. Defying league rules, Maye didn’t report the incident to the Jets. They didn’t find out until Oct. 4, when it was first reported by ESPN.
Asked whether coach Robert Saleh was blindsided by the arrest, Maye said, “They all were, but we talked and we moved on.”
Maye said he’s “not allowed” to comment on the case. He also refused to comment on why he hid it from the organization for seven months, which could factor into whether he’s disciplined by the NFL. The league office is reviewing the matter and could decide to suspend him. Maye doesn’t believe it has fractured his relationship with the organization.
“They know me,” he said. “Once I’m in the building, I’m all go. I don’t think there’s a trust issue from my end and stuff like that. They know I’m 100% with these guys every time I step on the field and walk in the building.”
Saleh said the organization supports Maye, who initiated a meeting with his coach because it was “the adult thing to do, just owning up to my situation.” That, of course, was after it was reported by media outlets. Maye was charged with three misdemeanors — driving under the influence, DUI/damage to property and person, and leaving the scene of a crash. There were no injuries, but he’s being sued by a woman who alleges that Maye crashed into her car and caused damage to the vehicle.
Maye said he’s remorseful.
“Oh, yeah, definitely,” he said. “The situation happened. I definitely feel sorry for it. I learned from it. … You have to keep going.”
Arizona Cardinals’ J.J. Watt says he’s won’t be facing same Texans ‘I remember’ on Sunday
TEMPE, Ariz. — When Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt looks across the line of scrimmage this Sunday and sees the Houston Texans‘ uniforms and helmets, he’ll be reminded of the memories made during 10 seasons with his former team, the playoff games won and AFC South division banners hanging inside NRG Stadium.
But that’s where the emotion of facing the only team he played for until this season will end.
“There’s obviously something more to it,” Watt said Thursday. “I don’t think that it’s what people may think it is because, I mean, you look at the roster and you look at the guys that are there, I mean it’s been so massively turned over that there’s only a handful of guys that are even there from last year that I played with.
“So, it’s not like, I’m like, ‘Oh, I want to go and beat my old team’ or ‘Oh, I can’t wait to face this guy,’ because it’s not the same team. It’s not the same organization that I remember and that I was a part of.”
That’s a large part of why Watt asked for his release from Houston back in February, he told the Houston media during a conference call Thursday morning. Watt said he expected Houston’s roster to be turned over like it has as well as the lack of success that’s resulted from it.
He barely recognizes the roster anymore, he said.
“There’s so many guys I don’t know,” Watt said.
After 10 seasons, four division championships, helping the franchise win its first playoff game all while winning three Defensive Player of the Year awards and being named the 2017 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, it pains Watt to see the Texans in this current state of disrepair.
“That’s why it hurts me to see where it is now, because I believe those fans deserve to be living those high times and to be experiencing those great moments and it hurts to know that they’re not, and to know that they’re struggling,” Watt said. “So, I hope that they get back there at some point and I hope that they get to do that because I know firsthand it’s an unbelievable place to play when you’re rolling.”
Watt said once the game starts Sunday, it’ll be just like any other game as the Cardinals look to improve on their 6-0 record with a short week coming up before hosting the Green Bay Packers on “Thursday Night Football.”
Watt hasn’t parted ways with all his “thousands of pieces” of Texans gear, and it sounds like he probably won’t. However, he estimated, with a smile, that about half of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, his hometown, may be dressed in Texans clothing. That’s starting to change to Cardinals red, he added.
“I mean there’s 10 years of my life and there’s 10 years of relationships,” Watt said, “so it’s not like I just chucked all my Houston stuff.”
And, yes, Watt said he has “a couple of big friends” who fit into his clothes.
Seeing the Texans’ blue, white and red uniform across from him Sunday at State Farm Stadium will be different, Watt said — just like studying film all week has been.
“When I turn on the film this week and I watch the games and you’re looking at NRG Stadium, for 10 years, I’ve looked at that film and I’ve been watching the team in blue and white,” Watt said. “And now I’m watching it from the other perspective and I’m studying those guys, so it is, it’s definitely different. “But I don’t think I’m going to forget which guy I’m supposed to tackle, if that’s what you’re asking.”
ESPN Texans reporter Sarah Barshop contributed to this report.
Joe Judge accepts blame for New York Giants’ struggles, says ‘the fish stinks from the head down’
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants coach Joe Judge isn’t putting the blame elsewhere for his team’s 1-5 start — he’s looking right in the mirror.
“There’s your answer. I’m the head coach. It’s my responsibility, point blank,” Judge said Thursday. “Every player on this field, every position group, the execution, it all comes down to me. The fish stinks from the head down.
“I’ve been taught that from great guys who I worked for, played for. There are no excuses, no exceptions. You demand it from your coaches to make sure that the player are playing the right way. You demand it of the players to know what to do and then go out there to do it.
“But it starts with me and ends with me.”
The Giants have dropped their last two games and are coming off a 38-11 demolition last Sunday at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams. They’ve lost all three of their home games this season by a combined score of 82-38.
Judge, who is 7-15 since taking over as head coach, insists he’s not feeling the pressure.
“To me, the only time you really feel any kind of pressure and nerves is when you’re unprepared,” he said. “If you’re prepared and you go through the tasks and process at hand and you’re consistent with it, then you go in with confidence.
“That is what we preach to our guys. We come out here and practice every week, prepare a certain way every week. We have to go out there better and execute better to have the results that we want.”
Judge has vowed that the Giants, who spent big in free agency to upgrade the roster this offseason, will turn it around.
“This is definitely going to get better, so there you go,” Judge said earlier this week. “I don’t know what kind of guarantee [the fans] want, but I can assure everyone out there that’s a Giants fan and they want to know when it’s going to turn, I can tell them right now we’re working tirelessly to make sure we get this thing turned around in the right direction, not just for short-term results, but for long-term success.”
Turning around their season will not be easy for the banged-up Giants heading into their home matchup Sunday with the Carolina Panthers. Star running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) and wide receivers Kenny Golladay (knee) and Kadarius Toney (ankle) were not at practice again Thursday, while starting left tackle Andrew Thomas (foot/ankle) went on injured reserve earlier this week.
Judge said Barkley, Golladay and Toney “all made progress” on Wednesday, and the team would see if they can get on the field by Friday. It still seems highly unlikely any of Barkley, Golladay or Toney would play against the Panthers. Sources told ESPN earlier in the week it was “doubtful” that Barkley and Golladay, who both were out against the Rams, would be return this week.
Judge has refused to use the injuries as an excuse and has been adamant about focusing on the process and daily grind. It seems to have been well-received in the building.
“Joe’s our leader. We all look to our leader for strength. He’s done a hell of a job I think of keeping the team moving forward,” special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said.
McGaughey later added: “Joe is a tough guy. Joe is mentally tough and he’s doing a great job with our team as far as the leadership part of it. Keeps expressing to focus on the task at hand, and that is to win today. You don’t have a chance on Sunday if you don’t win today. So we’re focusing on right now being where our feet are.”
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