Gruden all smiles with fans inside stadium for practice

Standing near midfield of Allegiant Stadium, coach Jon Gruden couldn’t help but smile after giving backup quarterback Marcus Mariota a play to run Sunday during practice. With approximately 13,000 fans in attendance, and “RAI-DERS! RAI-DERS!” chants echoing throughout the Las Vegas Raiders’ $1.9 billion stadium, one thing was perfectly clear: Chucky is having fun again.

“It’s always been fun, that’s why I came back to coach, especially with the Raiders,” Gruden said after the roughly two-hour session. “It’s always been the best time of my life. To share it with Raider fans again for the first time in a long time was special. It was really cool and really exciting for me and all of our players. ‘Raider Nation,’ the Raider fans, are special.”

Personal seat license (PSL) season-ticket holders, family members and team employees got the first look of what a game-day atmosphere will be like, with starting lineups announced and players running from a tunnel in the corner of the end zone, house disc jockey Joe Green blaring everything from hip hop to classic rock, tight end Foster Morreau exuberantly celebrating touchdowns, and starting quarterback Derek Carr even taking time to interact with fans sitting in the front row by waving at a few and signing autographs for others.