More than a few Redskins fans, not to mention at least one Washington Post columnist, reacted to Sunday’s execrable loss to the Giants by proclaiming that it was time for team President Bruce Allen to go. Then Monday brought word that Jon Gruden’s Raiders had fired their general manager, Reggie McKenzie, with the team announcing that it “will immediately begin a search for a new front office executive.”
Given that Allen and Gruden worked together at two NFL stops in the past, including a previous stint in Oakland, the McKenzie news prompted all sorts of speculation that the Raiders' $100 million head coach might be interested in a reunion. That very possibility was raised Monday by none other than NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who mentioned Allen’s name first while rattling off some league figures with connections to Gruden who might wind up joining him on the Raiders.
So, to everyone out there fervently wishing to see Allen gone from the Redskins, this sounds like a most welcome killing of two birds with one stone. Not to play killjoy, however, but . . . don’t get your hopes up.
That was certainly the message sent Monday by another NFL Network reporter, Tom Pelissero, who said of the Allen-to-Oakland rumors, “It does not sound as if that is something that would be on the front burner for the Raiders or for Jon Gruden at this point.” And he was hardly the only media member to throw some cold water, if not an entire Gatorade bucket, on that talk.
A pair of hosts for 106.7 The Fan, Grant Paulsen and Chris Russell, also expressed doubt that the scenario would come to pass. “I’ve been told by league people they don’t think that would happen,” Paulsen said on Twitter. “The name I heard that would be a more likely fit if he wanted to go elsewhere is Kevin Demoff and the LA Rams.”
Russell cited “multiple sources” who have told him recently that Gruden “has ZERO interest” in bringing Allen aboard and, in fact, “does not hold him in high regard at all.”
Going back to Nov. 28, just after Allen gained notice (and not generally of the most positive variety) for his role in the Redskins' acquisition of troubled linebacker Reuben Foster, The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami said, “I’ll note that I’ve been told to delete assumptions that Allen will inevitably join old pal Jon Gruden with the Raiders. Apparently, the two aren’t nearly as close these days.”
So that’s a fair amount of informed voices all but quashing disaffected Redskins fans' hopes of seeing Gruden take Allen, who also worked with him in Tampa Bay, off their hands. However, it’s worth noting that the speculation about Allen heading to Oakland began much earlier this year, not long after the Raiders backed up the proverbial Brinks truck to lure Gruden out of the “Monday Night Football” booth.
In late April, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports claimed that there “continue to be steady rumblings in the scouting and personnel community that [Redskins] team President Bruce Allen could end up back with the Raiders in some capacity after the draft.” That was quickly followed by a report from Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who wrote, “There’s a belief in league circles that Washington President Bruce Allen hopes to eventually return to the Raiders, where he’d reunite with Coach Jon Gruden.”
Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report tweeted at the time that he was “confirming” Florio’s report and added, “The interest, by the way, is mutual. Not saying it will happen. Just saying possibility is more than just rumor.”
Allen himself even felt compelled to address the rumors, saying during an appearance on SiriusXM Radio in May, “I’m not going there [to Oakland], and I’m not going to play shortstop for the Nationals, either, tonight.” Of course, that was during the offseason, traditionally a time featuring the most optimism about the Redskins' personnel decisions.
It’s safe to say that times have changed, and Allen could well be very much on the hot seat in Washington, where he has gone 58-82-1 over nearly nine full seasons. Whether that results in some sort of face-saving announcement in which Allen is described as being “allowed” to leave the Redskins for the Raiders remains to be seen, but if some sports-media figures are correct, D.C.-area fans probably shouldn’t bank on it.
However, in the wake of that 40-16 debacle, where Allen winds up is likely of far less importance to many of those fans than simply seeing him follow McKenzie to the unemployment line.
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