It was a day of mourning for the Oakland Raiders with the recent news that former wide receiver Cliff Branch passed away. Many members of the team honored the fallen Raider by sporting his number 21 jersey at practice. Quarterback Derek Carr, wide receiver Tyrell Williams, defensive back LaMarcus Joyner and linebacker Vontaze Burfict all wore the number 21 jerseys. Head coach Jon Gruden had a chance to talk about the fact that the Hall of Fame has long kept Branch from being inducted.
Jon Gruden Calls out Hall of Fame for Cliff Branch Omission
Cliff Branch has long been considered one of the biggest Hall of Fame snubs in NFL history. He certainly has the stats and impact that would warrant a statue in Canton. Jon Gruden agrees that he should be in there.
“He never misses a game, he’s a world champion,” said Gruden when asked about Branch’s Hall of Fame situation. “Three year Super Bowl player. Possibly one of the top four deep receivers I’ve seen play, so I think he should be in, but that’s for another day.”
Gruden had the team watch footage of Branch after learning of his death. He was a human highlight reel and his speed was legendary. The coach had Branch come to the combine this year and helped scout for the team. He always remained close to the Raiders.
“He’s one of the greatest receivers to never be in the Hall of Fame,” said rookie running back Josh Jacobs. “It’s just a tragic situation. He left a great legacy here. That speaks a lot on him and what kind of person he was.”
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Josh Jacobs Is Surprised How Smoothly Things Have Gone
Josh Jacobs isn’t just one of the most hyped Raiders rookies, he was one of the most hyped rookies in the NFL. His ability as a dual-threat makes him a perfect fit for today’s NFL. While it’s hard for a running back to impress much in training camp because of the lack of contact, he’s been able to show off his hands. The rookie has been surprised about how smoothly his training camp has gone to this point.
“It’s a lot better than I thought it was gonna be,” said Jacobs when asked about how camp is going. “It’s a lot different than college. They look out for you more from a body standpoint. Coming in mentally has been easier than I thought.”
Jacobs was asked about what he’s learned from his veteran teammates.
“Just push the reset button whenever you mess up,” said Jacobs. “You see a lot of rookies when they mess up they in their head a lot and there’s so much you already have to think about. Just play the next play and push the reset button.”
Jacobs doesn’t come off as a player that’s a huge head case, so that should mean good things for his development. He won’t get too much of a chance to show off until the preseason gets here, but Raiders fans will see plenty of him very soon.