Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said it was obvious Khalil Mack did not want to play for the NFL franchise after he joined the Chicago Bears.
Mack – the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year – had held out the entire preseason as he sought a new long-term deal with the Raiders but he was eventually dealt to the Bears along with a second-round pick for four draft selections.
Gruden shared more thoughts on the head-turning Mack trade, a deal that proved even more baffling after his standout performance in Chicago's 24-23 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Speaking ahead of Monday's opener against the Los Angeles Rams, Gruden told ESPN: "Obviously Khalil Mack didn't want to play here.
"That's what's being missed here. He was under contract. He was under contract. He never showed up for an OTA, he never showed up for training camp and it was obvious he wasn't going to show up for the season so don't forget that.
"We have to get ready to play and I want players that want to be here and that want to help us put this thing back in high gear."
Before Mack's trade to Chicago, he was in a prolonged holdout with Oakland.
Gruden said they were "at a standoff" before Mack went on to sign a record-setting six-year, $141million deal with the Bears. In exchange, the Raiders received first-round picks in 2019 and 2020, a third-round pick in 2020 and a sixth-round pick in 2019.
Gruden has also previously said the deal will continue to be scrutinised, saying the Raiders are "going to be second-guessed until the cows come home on this."