ALAMEDA (CBS SF) — It wasn’t his team’s poor red zone play that was occupying Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s mind when he met with the media Monday.
Instead, he was focused on the 12-hour plane flight he would take with his team this week to London, England, for a “home” game against the Seattle Seahawks.
“I hope I can make it honestly,” Gruden told reporters. “I’m not great (at flying). I get claustrophobic. My son was a weightlifter, he won a power lifting championship in Belarus. I had to fly 14 hours (to Belarus). I had to fly home 14 hours. I had vertigo for a month. I couldn’t even lay down, the house was spinning. I’m hoping I don’t get vertigo.”
“I’m not a great traveler. To be honest with you, I hate it. I’m not good.”
Gruden’s response brought back memories of John Madden, the famous Raiders head coach who never flew again after retiring. He traveled to his various assignments as a television football analyst most famously in a bus.
“So I’m concerned,” Gruden told reporters. “I’m more worried about that than our goal-line offense right now.”
While he was concerned about the flight, Gruden said he was looking forward to visiting London.
“I’m excited to go over and make some friends,” he said. “My brother (head coach Jay Gruden) went as a member of the Redskins and loved it.”
As for the team’s travel plans, Gruden said a lot of research has been done as to the best time to travel this week.
“People have done it, people have made that trip from California,” he said. “We will do the best thing for our players. Get the proper preparation here and then go to London and get the proper rest — time acclimation — and then get ready to play on Sunday.”