Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow went from playing for one high-profile and well-respected head coach at Clemson in Dabo Swinney to another in the NFL in Jon Gruden, his current coach with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Swinney and Gruden have combined for well over 200 wins as head coaches at their respective levels, and Swinney has won two national championships with the Tigers while Gruden led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII to conclude the 2002 season.
If you ask Renfrow, Swinney and Gruden are a lot alike as coaches – with one distinct difference.
“I always tell everybody that they’re similar,” Renfrow said on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Thursday. “They care so much about their players. They care who they are, they care where they come from. They both tell stories and make things fun, but Coach Gruden likes to cuss a lot more than Coach Swinney. That’s kind of the thing that he likes to do. Both great guys, though. I love them.”
Another thing Swinney and Gruden have in common is their competitive fire and passion for the game of football. They coach their players hard and don’t hesitate to give them a good ol’ fashioned butt-chewing when they feel the need to, which is why Renfrow could not pick one or the other when asked who he would least like to mess up in front of on the field, Swinney or Gruden.
“Equally, really, just because they care so much about the game but also how you do as a person and how you play the game,” Renfrow said. “So, messing up in front of both of them would be pretty tough.”
After being selected by the Raiders in the fifth round (149th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft, Renfrow recorded 49 receptions for 605 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie last season despite missing three games with a broken rib and a punctured lung.
Now heading into his second year in the league, Renfrow and the Raiders are making the move to Las Vegas after spending the last quarter century in Oakland, though the transition has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But the former Clemson star is looking forward to getting back on the field in silver and black in a new location and stadium.
“We’re kind of taking it day by day and seeing how all this progresses,” Renfrow said. “But we’re excited, whether it’s in front of fans or whether it’s not in front of fans. I think we open up in Las Vegas against the Saints on Monday Night Football, so that’s going to be a blast and we can’t wait to have a good time with the city.”
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