Despite never meeting King, reports say the new Oakland Raiders Czar released King on Friday because he was a flashy headache. King, a former Pro Bowl kicker, had signed a five-year extension in the 2016 offseason. The team cleared $2.9 million in cap space by releasing him, but as Deadspin reported, it sounded like this move wasnt completely for salary reasons. According to reports, new head coach Jon Gruden wasnt a fan.
Although King had committed a total of four personal fouls in the last two seasons, including one time against the Bills when he celebrated with a flag thrown for roughing the kicker, he was still a solid punter. This season he achieved an average of 42.7 net punting yards (yards after factoring in the return), a mark that ranked third in the league behind Brett Kern and Johnny Hekker. Now that Kings gone, however, his antics will be remarked upon. Raiders beat writer Vic Tafur elaborated in his article for The Athletic.
But people in the building and Kings teammates were not too surprised at his being released. The flamboyant social media star was perceived as hard to handle and teammates looked at him differently after a 2017 Pro Bowl tweet that showed him having his chain playfully tugged by then-Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib.
Talib had snatched off receiver Michael Crabtrees chain in a 2016 game, and then did it again last season, that time inciting a brawl that saw both Crabtree and Talib ejected.
Gruden is a coach who gives a perception that hes still new school, but is already trying to execute old school tactics by getting rid of a player who seems too black, too strong, too lit and possibly too expensive.
If Jon Gruden was sending a message with the release of Marquette King, nobody told King what that message was. Sounds more like a cost-cutting move to save $3m on the guy who finished second in net punting yards last season. https://t.co/H3U8g38rUt
Granted, punters are expendable and a team definitely doesnt need a punter that is a headache, but Gruden not liking King because hes got a flashy personality sets a precedent that could become a problem.
If Gruden is attempting to impose the same tactics he used 20 years ago, then he is sure to run into some internal problems along the line. The age of social media has created an atmosphere where a player can take his gripe with a coach directly to the public.
We already know that players seek further attention on social media. It has become an addictive aspect of managing an athletes life. There was a reason why King was the most popular and the coolest punter probably in NFL history.
Last week, the green and gold kicked it with @MarquetteKing. https://t.co/YmIK1IW8jv
He actually brought attention to a position that most folks forget exists until a punter shanks one and it costs the team dearly. Then hes the most hated guy on the field. For the most part, coaches believe that punters should be seen and NEVER heard. King went against the grain.
How could Jon Gruden release Marquette King?!” Y’all watch this and tell me this isn’t weird. https://t.co/6yOOPzan35
Jon Gruden hadn’t coached a game in the NFL for 10 years before the Raiders gave him $100 million dollars and the keys to Silver and Black Nation. He was still relatively young back then, 45, and he had a fire and a passion for the game that was undeniable.
A desperate Raiders franchise gave a 55-year-old Gruden a 10-year-deal to return to the franchise that he started his coaching career with going 38-26 in his four seasons there, losing to Baltimore in the 2000 AFC Championship game. The very next season Gruden took over a Tampa Bay team that Tony Dungy had brought to the brink of an NFL title and won a Super Bowl. From then on, Gruden could do no wrong in the eyes of NFL analysts, fans and front offices. Until now.
Jon Gruden trying to make the RAIDERS swaggerless is a ship I pray sinks early https://t.co/UiGBk5i20i
His run as an analyst and TV personality only enhanced his popularity as Grudens name popped up yearly in conversations about potential NFL coaches. The years passed and before you knew it, Gruden was away from the game for the same amount of time that he had previously been a head coach.
A decade is a long time for a coach to be out of the trenches. The players have changed and so has the way NFL offensive and defensive schemes are implemented. The jury is still out on whether or not Gruden can pick up where he left off, but it is clear that he has the security, cache and freedom to shake things up as he pleases.
Now, theres a new sheriff in town and it’s obvious that Gruden is setting the tone, trying to establish the kind of culture that he feels will make the Raiders most successful. The way he goes about it might become a problem if hes against having players with transcending personalities because the days of players staying quiet and worrying about the team before their own brand is long gone. Cutting a punter is minor. Cutting one with a propensity for drawing personal fouls is understandable, but the optics look a bit funny.
People in Oakland are saying Marquette King was “too flashy” for a punter, and that’s why he got cut. “Too flashy” sounds like code to me, but what do I know…..