Ex-Raider Turned Giants Starter Goes to Bat for Jon Gruden Amid Email Scandal

Devontae Booker talks Jon Gruden Emails

Getty Former Raiders HC Jon Gruden (left) and Giants RB Devontae Booker (right).

A slew of leaked e-mails dating back as far as 2011 cost Jon Gruden both his job and his standing as one of the league’s most prevalent and well-respected faces. The New York Times detailed emails in which the former Super Bowl Champion made racist, homophobic and misogynistic remarks spanning across the past decade-plus. The revelations led to Gruden announcing his resignation as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders in a statement on October 11th via Twitter, stating that he doesn’t want to be a distraction to the organization and the he “never meant to hurt anyone.”

The news of Gruden’s emails has continued to send shockwaves throughout the NFL landscape and far beyond. Many, including New York Giants running back Devontae Booker, were shocked by the findings.

“I don’t know, honestly. I heard it and I just felt like I don’t think that was him, just me personally,” Booker said, via the New York Post. “I don’t think that was him as a person and everything. I was only there with him a year, but that’s just my take on it. Everybody else can do whatever or say whatever about him, but I didn’t get that from him when I was there.”

Booker ‘Wouldn’t Be Here’ Without Gruden

After four mostly underwhelming seasons in Denver, Gruden and the Raiders took a chance on Booker, inking the veteran back to a one-year deal prior to the 2020 campaign. The move helped rejuvenate the former fourth-round pick’s career and catapult him towards a $5.5 million payday with the Giants this offseason. When asked if he enjoyed playing for Gruden during his lone season in Las Vegas Booker stated, “absolutely.”

“He gave me an opportunity there,” Booker said of Gruden. “I probably wouldn’t be here right now without the opportunity he gave me.”

After falling out of favor in Denver, Booker found new life with the Raiders, rushing for three touchdowns and 423 yards on 93 attempts — all of which marked his highest output since his rookie campaign.

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Booker in Line for 1st Giants Start

Booker did much of his work in Las Vegas when starter Josh Jacobs was sidelined. Now in New York, he’ll have to pick up the slack for an injured Saquon Barkley. The former Rookie of the Year suffered an ankle injury in Big Blue’s Week 5 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The injury is expected to keep Barkley out of the lineup for upwards of a month, starting in Week 6 vs. the Los Angeles Rams.

This means a likely expanded workload for Booker, who is in line to make his first start since joining the Giants this offseason. In three-plus quarters of spelling Barkley against Dallas, Booker touched the ball a team-high 19 times. While his efficiency left much to be desired — 58 total yards (3.05 yards per touch) — he did happen to find the endzone twice on the day.

Despite the Rams being perceived as one of the league’s more elite defensive units, Aaron Donald and the rest of L.A.’s front-seven has been fairly susceptible against the run this season. Over their first five games, three opposing running backs have either topped 100 yards rushing or hit paydirt twice.


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