Perhaps the most surprising move the Las Vegas Raiders made last year was trading third-round draft pick Lynn Bowden Jr. before he even played a single game. It’s not entirely clear exactly why they moved on. Vic Tafur of The Athletic reported that Bowden was going to be a bad influence on some of the younger players and even said that he looked slower than the team was expecting. General manager Mike Mayock later came out and said that it was purely a football decision.
Regardless of what happened, Bowden believes he got a raw deal and wasn’t happy with how the whole thing played out. In an extensive piece by Tyler Dunne, the Miami Dolphins wide receiver opened up about what happened in Las Vegas.
During the offseason, Bowden was at his family home in Youngstown, Ohio when the DEA raided the house. Though he wasn’t arrested, the Raiders certainly didn’t like the optics of the situation. Bowden revealed to Dunne that he FaceTimed special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia during a meeting.
“Nobody was sticking up for me,” Bowden says. “It was, ‘Well, you know it is a drug house, it’s a gang-related house. So, he could’ve been in it.’ I’m hearing it! This is my first time even telling anybody this s***. I’m hearing ‘em! So I’m already knowing what their mindset is.”
Things only went downhill from there.
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Mayock & Jon Gruden Never Spoked Bowden About Concerns
The most perplexing thing to come from this story is the fact that Bowden alleges that Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden never confronted him about their concerns. He went into detail with Dunne about how the trade to the Dolphins went down:
Bowden woke up to five missed calls from a team official — the designated “grim reaper,” as he calls him — and, like everyone else, was cattle led to slaughter. The second he called back and heard those fateful words, Bring your iPad, Bowden feared the worst. He texted his agent and both braced for impact. Upon arriving, Bowden was herded to a room upstairs full of players about to be cut. Mayock called him in and Bowden says the GM told him, blankly, that Gruden was not seeing what he saw at Kentucky.
At which point, Bowden asked Mayock why nobody brought this up to him at any point all camp.
It’s not a great look for the Raiders that they aren’t being transparent with players who were drafted highly. It sounds like the team had major buyer’s remorse and just wanted to cut their losses. Bowden revealed that his fellow Raiders rookies from last year told him what the coaches were saying about him.
“One of them was like, ‘They’re trying to slander your name,’” Bowden said. “They knew me! They knew I didn’t come outside. There was nothing about me that was a bad influence. I already knew the spotlight was on me. I knew I was under a MIKE–ROW–SCOPE. So why would I f*** it up? Why would I f*** it up? I just got raided.”
Bowden Talks Gruden
This whole situation surrounding Bowden brings to light a possible fatal flaw with Gruden. He falls in and out of love with players very quickly. Bowden pretty much said as much.
“If you’re not his guy, you’re not his guy,” Bowden said of Gruden. “Once he shies away from you, he shies away from you.”
Obviously, this story is from Bowden’s perspective as nobody affiliated with the Raiders commented. He clearly has faults that are getting glossed over to make the team look bad. There wasn’t much from Bowden last year to suggest the Raiders made a mistake by trading him so time will tell.