Raiders' Jon Gruden I Was 'Tricked' Into Wearing Wrong Hat ... My Bad

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Jon Gruden's hat debacle on "Thursday Night Football" was the result of a practical joke played on him in the locker room -- so says the Raiders head coach.

Gruden caught hell on social media once fans realized he was wearing an "Oakland Raiders" hat on the sideline -- epic fail considering the Raiders just moved to Las Vegas!!

Social media clowned the 57-year-old for the error ... and the roar clearly grew so loud -- JG became aware of the cap problem in the 1st quarter and switched hats soon after.

"I apologize for not having the right hat on," Gruden told reporters. "Somebody played a pretty good trick on me."

So, who is this mysterious trickster? Gruden didn't name names -- but someone's ass is in the hot seat.

MY BAD
Las Vegas Raiders

The thing is ... Gruden's headgear ended up being the LEAST of his worries against the Chargers -- 'cause the Raiders took an L they desperately couldn't afford to take.

Las Vegas' playoff hopes essentially rode on the game against LA ... but its defense struggled all night and the team lost in overtime, 30-27, to Justin Herbert's crew.

Gruden apologized for THAT as well ... telling reporters, "It's on me."

Rough night for Coach, huh?

Jon Gruden To Frank Caliendo ... Do Your Gruden Impression W/ Me!!!

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DOUBLE COVERAGE

Knock on wood if you think this is hilarious!!!

Jon Gruden commissioned an impromptu Jon Gruden impression from Frank Caliendo at an Aerosmith concert recently ... and the video is laugh-out-loud funny.

FYI -- Caliendo has been doing an insane JG impression for YEARS ... and even famously did the bit for Gruden's Raiders at their training camp this past summer.

So, when Gruden was sitting next to the comedian in an arena waiting for the show to begin ... he whipped out his phone and created 25 seconds of magic with the guy.

JG starts the video by saying, "Yes, I'm sitting here at the Aerosmith concert with my good friend, Jon Gruden. How's it going, Jonny?!"

That's when Caliendo takes it away ... SOUNDING EXACTLY LIKE JON!!!

Frank, though, cracks up throughout the whole impression ... and his explanation for why is hilarious.

"1. Gruden recorded this on his phone," Frank said. "2. He didn’t tell me he was going to do it- and that's why I'm laughing so much. 3. I asked him to send it to me so I could post it. 4. He did... so that should tell you how great he is."

It's unclear why the two were at the concert together ... but this needs to happen more, ASAP!!!

Derek Carr Hits Moonshot Home Run Off Toddler Son ... 'Sorry Not Sorry!!!'

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SWINGIN' FOR THE FENCES

DEREK CARR HAS ZERO CHILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Oakland (Las Vegas?) Raiders quarterback posted video of him taking his toddler son DEEP to left field in a friendly soft-toss game ... and the video is straight savagery!!!

Carr got in the father-son bonding time Wednesday ... and despite showing no mercy on his 3-year-old, he didn't even apologize!!!

"Sorry ... not sorry ..." the QB wrote of the epic hack.

Of course, it's all fun and games for DC ... he's known as a GREAT father to his three boys -- and he's constantly posting about parenting his kids the right way.

And, hey ... sometimes kids gotta learn to lose to get better, right?!?

As for Derek and his fam's future ... they're going to be heading off to Vegas shortly -- the Raiders are set to complete their move from the Bay Area to Nevada this offseason.

Which begs the question ... can Carr get a bigger yard to contain his home run swing there???

'Last Chance U' Star Ronald Ollie Signs With CFL Team ... Toronto Argonauts

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Ronald Ollie -- star of the hit Netflix show, "Last Chance U" -- is getting another chance at a pro football career ... he's signed with the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts, the team announced Monday.

The 23-year-old defensive lineman had a shot with the Oakland Raiders in 2019 -- but was cut in training camp after coaches said he looked lazy and unmotivated. His stint with the Raiders was also captured on a docu-series, "Hard Knocks."

Because of the way Ollie was portrayed on the show, most people thought his football career was over ... but he's got raw talent and the Argonauts think they can develop him.

As we previously reported ... the 6'2", 300-pounder had been courted by the XFL and was invited to enter the inaugural draft for the 2020 season, but it's unclear what ended up happening with that.

Ollie was a stud at East Mississippi Community College during the 2014 season and was named All-State 2nd team defense. He was also one of the most likable guys on "Last Chance U."

He went on to play at Nicholls State for 2 seasons, racking up 74 tackles, 7 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries. He can ball.

As for Ollie, he's clearly stoked for the opportunity in Canada -- saying "Toronto What's Good!!"

Good luck!

Derek Carr Booed Off Field After Raiders' Loss Trash Thrown Everywhere!

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The Black Hole turned on Derek Carr in a HURRY Sunday, 'cause after the Raiders lost to the Jags -- the QB was booed off the field ... all while fans hurled trash into the endzone!

The wild scene all went down in the final Raiders game ever at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum ... where fans were clearly pissed that the team blew a 16-3 lead to Jacksonville.

As Carr was leaving the grass ... fans rained down boos on the 28-year-old -- and once he made his way into the locker room -- things turned chaotic.

Video from the scene captured fans throwing trash and food all over the place ... and one reporter claims she even saw a woman gushing blood from her forehead.

A man was also taken off the field by stadium security ... and the whole thing was an awful look for the Raiders in their last game in the Bay Area before their move to Las Vegas.

Of course, hours before the disappointing 20-16 L ... things were much happier -- 'cause Marshawn Lynch handed out shots of tequila to the crowd!!

Pics of the ex-Oakland star running back in the parking lot were pretty epic ... Lynch was giving out shot glasses like water!!

Good luck topping all that next year, Vegas.

Steve Wynn Raiders In Vegas Best Thing To Ever Happen To City!!!

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THE RAIDER WAY
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Forget the all-you-can-eat buffets and strip clubs ... the best thing to EVER happen to Las Vegas is the Raiders moving to town ... so says the Sin City icon, Steve Wynn!!

Of course, the Silver and Black are building a huge, $1.84 BILLION home and moving to Nevada next season after spending the past 24 seasons in Oakland.

Wynn's heavily responsible for making Vegas what it is today with his luxury hotels like the Mirage, Bellagio and the Wynn ... but he says none of that amounts to the Raiders' impact on the city.

"Great news," Wynn told us outside Craig's in L.A. "It's gonna be great. I think it's the best thing that's happened in that town."

"I was really excited and spoke in favor of it. I think it's a great thing, can't wait for it to happen."

As for whether the athletes will be able to stay outta trouble, Wynn says that's up to the players ... but hey, after all -- it ain't called Sin City for nothin'.

Raiders' Erik Harris Pump-Up Speech After Epic Game ... 'Keep Pushing!!!'

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KEEP PUSHING FORWARD
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Oakland Raiders stud Erik Harris -- a former D2 walk-on who BALLED OUT on Thursday -- just gave an awesome pump-up speech to everyone who's doubting themselves, saying, "Keep pushing forward!"

Harris' story is amazing ... the dude turned himself from an undrafted free agent in 2012 into the star of "Thursday Night Football" this week -- and when we asked him about the whole journey, he said it's been pretty epic.

The 29-year-old tells us he was about to give up his dream of playing pro football a few years ago ... but he decided to spend $80 on a Canadian Football League tryout, and it changed his life.

"It was special," Harris said of his time in the CFL. "It was special. Definitely part of who I am."

Harris was able to latch on in the NFL after his time in Canada ... and for the past two years, he's been a regular in Jon Gruden's Oakland lineup.

And, finally, on 'TNF' -- he showed the country all the fruits of his labor ... intercepting the hell out of Philip Rivers THREE TIMES (one was called back because of penalty).

So, when we asked the guy to give a message to all those who are currently in the shoes he wore back in 2012 ... he delivered an epic pump-up speech about never giving up.

"Believe in yourself," Harris said. "Find that confidence within yourself and keep pushing forward because if you continue to have that focus on that vision, then things will come true."

How's that for Friday motivation?!?

Darren Waller Gunning To Be Sobriety Symbol In Las Vegas ... After Raiders' Move

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VEGAS WON'T DERAIL ME
TMZSports.com

Darren Waller ain't scared of relapsing when he has to move to Las Vegas after the Raiders bolt from Oakland ... in fact, he tells TMZ Sports he's gunning to be a sobriety symbol in Sin City.

The tight end's battle with substance abuse is well known ... the 27-year-old nearly lost his NFL career before it really even began because of issues with opiates and cocaine.

But, Waller's been on the straight and narrow for over two years now ... and he tells us he ain't concerned one bit about how a permanent move to Vegas might change that.

In fact, Waller says once he gets to LV with his Raiders squad ... he immediately wants to help others find sobriety like he did back in 2017.

"Maybe I can step into a community that really is rough to be in for people who may not think they can be sober in that environment," Waller tells us.

"And, really try to be an example or just be someone that people could lean on. And, just build a community there where people feel safe."

It's an awesome gesture from Waller ... and he's the perfect guy for the role -- 'cause this year has been the best of his life.

Waller is having a breakout season ... logging 48 catches for 548 yards and 3 TDs -- and was rewarded with a fat, 4-year, $29.8 MILLION contract just a few weeks ago.

Oakland Raiders Honoring Heroic Train Employee Before Thursday Night Football

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The city employee who saved a man from an oncoming train this past weekend will be honored as a "hometown hero" prior to the Raiders' 'TNF' game ... the team announced on Tuesday.

The story is incredible -- right after Oakland beat the Detroit Lions on Sunday, a train station near the stadium was packed with Raider fans ... and one man lost his balance and fell onto the tracks.

BART supervisor John O'Connor saw what happened and pulled the man from the tracks and back to safety without hesitation ... saving him from the zooming train.

DANGER CLOSE
@SFBART

O'Connor spoke about the incident afterward ... admitting "I thought the train was going to cut him in half, honestly."

Now, the Silver and Black are honoring O'Connor for his heroic actions before the Raiders play against the L.A. Chargers on Thursday.

"The team will host him in front of Raider Nation as this week’s 'Hometown Hero,'" the Raiders said on Tuesday.

TMZ Sports spoke with Raiders star Darren Waller, who says O'Connor's reaction was "legendary" ... and the hero deserves the biggest standing ovation of the night on Thursday.

A REAL LIFE HERO
TMZSports.com

No word on what else will go down for O'Connor, but we're sure he's gonna get hooked up!!!

Vontaze Burfict Should Be 'Mentally Evaluated' ... Says Ed Reed

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IT'S A VIOLENT SPORT
TMZSports.com

NFL legend Ed Reed is concerned about Vontaze Burfict's mental health -- and is calling for the Oakland Raiders star to be "mentally evaluated" over his history of violent play.

"After all the years ... dude actually needs to be evaluated," Reed told TMZ Sports at LAX. "I think he needs to be evaluated for playing like that."

Reed is referring to Burfict's well-documented history of illegal hits on NFL players. Most recently, Burfict was suspended for the remainder of the 2019 season for a dirty helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle.

The Raiders appealed the punishment, claiming Burfict was being treated unfairly (the appeal was denied) ... but Reed says Burfict "had it coming."

"He put himself in that situation after all the years and everything he's done."

Jon Gruden and Derek Carr Go to Bat For Vontaze Burfict ... During Appeal Meeting

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2:18 PM PT -- Gruden and Carr tried their best ... but they weren't able to get their captain back. The NFL just announced Burfict's suspension has been upheld.

See ya next year, Vontaze.

Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict had support from his coach and star QB during his appeal of a season-ending suspension … with Jon Gruden and Derek Carr vouching for the controversial player.

Burfict was banned from the league for the remainder of the 2019-2020 season after his violent helmet-to-helmet hit on Colts tight end Jack Doyle during their Week 4 match-up.

The 29-year-old spoke with league officials for more than an hour on Wednesday ... in an attempt to get back sooner than next season.

According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, the Raiders pointed out that despite Burfict's violent history, he hadn’t been flagged in over 190 plays ... until the one against Doyle.

Burfict himself reportedly broke down the play in question, explaining why the hit happened and emphasizing that he was not trying to injure Doyle.

The Raiders also pointed out that Burfict has been trying to change his playing style and was named team captain for his leadership.

Carr praised Burfict last week, saying, “He’s one of the most genuine, awesome people I’ve been around. He’s a great teammate. He works his tail off and he’s a great guy.”

DEFENDING BURFICT

The NFL seemed adamant to make an example out of Burfict, handing him the longest suspension for an individual play in league history.

Originally Published -- 12:54 PM PT

Bill Romanowski Burfict Suspension is 'Bulls**t' ... NFL Is 'Dead Wrong'

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IT'S KILL OR BE KILLED!!!
TMZSports.com

Bill Romanowski admits Vontaze Burfict's hit on Colts tight end Jack Doyle was illegal ... but tells TMZ Sports the full-year suspension is absolutely "bulls**t!!!"

We talked to Romanowski -- a 4x Super Bowl champ and 2x Pro Bowler with a rep ranging from a player who was ultra-physical to downright dirty -- about Burfict's controversial hit, and season-long (12 games) suspension.

"You're in the heat of battle. Your mindset is kill or be killed. Because the offensive linemen are still coming at you. You're in war. You're supposed to be able to be violent sometimes and other times you're supposed to just be able to take your foot off the gas like that. That is hard, my friend."

"I feel for this guy. Do I think he should be fined? Yes. Do I think he should be kicked outta the league? No. I think it is absolutely dead wrong. This guy has handled himself like a pro. And yes, he is a violent mother f'er and I love the way he plays the game of football."

It's worth noting, Burfict -- who's been suspended or fined a total of 13 times over his 8-year career -- has a personal relationship with Romanowski.

The two men spent time together at Raiders training camp this summer.

So, what should've been the punishment??? Romanowski broke it down.

NFL's Vontaze Burfict Suspended Rest of Season ... After Violent Hit

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Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict's vicious hit on Jack Doyle has landed him a season-ending suspension ... the league announced on Monday.

Burfict -- who has a history of dirty plays -- was ejected from Sunday's game after hitting the Colts player with a helmet-to-helmet tackle.

The NFL handed down the severe punishment on Monday ... with VP of football operations saying in a letter to Burfict straight-up, “There were no mitigating circumstances on this play."

"Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided. For your actions, you were penalized and disqualified from the game.”

The suspension is an NFL record for one violent play. Burfict has been suspended multiple times as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, which also contributed to the punishment.

“Following each of your previous rule violations, you were warned by me and each of the jointly-appointed appeal officers that future violations would result in escalated accountability measures. However, you have continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk.”

“Your extensive history of rules violations is factored into this decision regarding accountability measures.”

Burfict is appealing the suspension, but in the meantime ... the Raiders need a new captain.

Raiders' Darren Waller On Addiction Battle ... 'I Feel Like I'm Living with a Purpose'

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OVERCOMING ADDICTION
TMZSports.com

Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller says he's GLAD the world knows about his battle with substance abuse ... because he's inspiring others and it "feels like I'm living with a purpose."

Waller's story is incredible ... the 26-year-old is insanely talented but almost watched his career go down the toilet after multiple violations of the NFL's substance abuse policy over the years.

The Raiders gave him a shot in late 2018 and now he's become a key part of the Oakland offense ... catching 7 passes for 70 yards in the Week 1 win over the Broncos.

Waller's addiction issues were featured on the HBO series "Hard Knocks" -- and Darren tells TMZ Sports the reaction has been amazing.

"A lot of people are reaching out relating to my story and that’s the kind of stuff that makes me feel like I’m living with a purpose," Waller says.

"When I go out there, I kind of try and do it for them."

Waller says he still makes it a point to attend AA meetings and other support groups regularly -- even when the team is on the road.

And, get this ... Waller says he never expected a second chance in the NFL, but now that he's got it -- he's determined to make the most of it. He's making sure to use all resources available to him to stay sober, understanding it's a constant battle.

READY FOR A CHALLENGE
TMZSports.com

As for the football side of things, Waller says he ain't surprised by the Raiders' performance in Week 1 -- even without Antonio Brown -- saying the guys busted their asses all offseason and don't want to let the fans down!

BONUS FANTASY FOOTBALL ADVICE -- Waller says you need to get his ass on your team ASAP because the Week 1 numbers were no fluke, he's gonna get the ball A LOT this season.

Carson Palmer Craps All Over AB to Pats ... 'It's a Bad Fit!!!

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Antonio Brown is a "monster" who just can't be tamed -- even by the great Bill Belichick ... so says ex-NFL quarterback Carson Palmer.

While everyone else in the NFL is predicting a Randy Moss 2.0 situation for AB -- AKA a guy who did nothing in the Bay Area but went on to set records in NE -- Palmer ain't so optimistic.

"I don't like the fit," Palmer said on FS1's "First Things First" ... noting Brown's wild off-the-field antics (especially his unpredictable social media habits) just won't mesh with Bill's "Patriot Way."

"AB is set in his ways," Palmer adds ... "Once you create that monster, which was created in Pittsburgh, it just takes off and runs. You can't then all of a sudden start pulling the reigns in."

"I don't like the fit. I don't like the match. I think it's gonna be really interesting over the next month or so to see what happens."

Belichick and the Pats happily added Brown to their roster over the weekend after the star receiver forced his way out of Oakland -- giving him a 1-year deal with an option for a 2nd year.

There's more ... Palmer also went on "105.3 The FAN" Tuesday morning to talk Dak Prescott -- and he suggested the Cowboys QB should take more than HALF of what top-tier signal-callers are making these days with his new contract.

"If I was him, I would not be asking for top money. If I’m a young QB, you have no better friend than great players around you."

Somewhere, Jerry Jones is smiling.

Jerry Rice AB Played Raiders Like a Fiddle!!! ... 'He Won an Oscar'

WE GOT PLAYED
95.7 The Game

Jerry Rice says Antonio Brown deserves an Academy Award for the performance he put on in Oakland ... 'cause the superstar played EVERYONE like a fiddle to ultimately land with the Patriots.

The G.O.A.T. weighed in on the disastrous few weeks surrounding AB's time with the Raiders on 95.7 The Game on Monday ... saying Brown got exactly what he wanted all along, and channeled his inner Denzel Washington to make it happen.

"He was a Denzel Washington and he won the Oscar," Rice said. "He won an Oscar, guys. Imma be honest with you. Because He had all of us sold. Then all of a sudden, you started to get all of this drama, what was happening with the Raiders."

It seems Rice is insinuating that Brown had a master plan from the beginning to sabotage things in Oakland to force the team to cut him so he could sign with Bill Belichick's Pats.

"He was a Denzel all the way and he pulled it off. He really did."

Jerry admits AB personally played him too ... saying he took AB at his word when he said he wanted to be a San Francisco 49er earlier this year.

Rice also thinks more players will start to follow AB's blueprint when it comes to getting out of contracts they don't want to be in ... with  the hopes of landing with a specific team in mind.

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