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Jon Gruden Showers Praise On Bill Belichick, Cam Newton Ahead Of Patriots-Raiders Matchup

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Las Vegas Raiders may end up losing on Sunday afternoon when they visit the New England Patriots. But if they do, it won't be because Jon Gruden underestimated the challenge.

The Raiders' head coach made it abundantly clear on Wednesday that there are few people in the profession he regards as highly as he does Bill Belichick.

Gruden and Belichick obviously have a bit of a history, as the two were roaming opposite sidelines on a snowy night in Foxboro in January 2002. That was the night when "the tuck rule" entered the American lexicon, a loss which Gruden has admittedly never quite gotten over.

But based on Wednesday's praise, Gruden doesn't hold it against Belichick that the unique quirk in the rulebook benefited the Patriots that night.

That appreciation is mutual, too, as Belichick kicked off his Wednesday morning video chat with reporters by praising the work Gruden has done with the Raiders.

The Raiders obviously, this is a very impressive start that they've had. I think that coach [Jon] Gruden has done an outstanding job, really of putting this team together in a pretty short amount of time, both from a personnel standpoint, coaching staff and just the way that he's been able to get the players to do the things that I know he believes in and what he wants them to do," Belichick said. "I think you can really see this team being molded in the way that coach Gruden wants to, both with the personnel, schematics and just the overall playing style that he's been able to implement in a pretty short amount of time. So, [Mike] Mayock and Gruden have done a really good job of collecting the talent they want to run the things that they're running. That's that showed up last year but you can see there's been a big jump this year as well."

While the coaching respect is clear, Gruden also made sure to issue as much praise for Cam Newton as he could into his brief conference call with New England reporters.

Gruden first met Newton way back in the spring of 2011, for his "QB Camp" segment on ESPN.

Cam Newton goes through Gruden's QB Camp (2011) | ESPN Archive by ESPN Throwback on YouTube

Gruden was a big fan that day, and he tried to make it clear this week that his admiration for the QB never faded.

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