Chandler Jones' absence a 'private matter,' says Raiders coach

HENDERSON, Nev. -- While Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels would not discuss why defensive end Chandler Jones went on a social media harangue against him and the team a day earlier, McDaniels did say Jones was not currently with the team and was not sure whether the four-time Pro Bowl defensive end would be with the Raiders for Sunday's season opener at the Denver Broncos.

"Right now, we're going day to day ... so we'll kind of take it one day at a time," McDaniels said in his Wednesday media conference. "It's a private matter and, you know, if there's something to report on it, then we'll do that. But as of right now, there's nothing.

"I'm not going to get into this. It's a personal situation. It's a private matter. If you want to talk about the game on Sunday, I'll be excited to talk about the game."

Told that Jones, a team captain and team leader, potentially missing the game is related to the game, McDaniels said Jones was not a team captain.

"So it is what it is," McDaniels said. "Like I said, we're dealing with it internally. We've dealt with it but we're not going to get into this."

Jones, 33, is entering his 12th NFL season, the second year of the three-year, $51 million free agent contract he signed with Las Vegas in 2022. He took to social media Tuesday morning to say he no longer wanted to play with the Raiders after allegedly not being allowed into the team's facility to work out over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

"F--- IT. I DON'T WANNA PLAY FOR THE RAIDERS IF THAT'S MY HC, OR GM...I WANT PATRICK GRAHAM IVY LEAGUE N---A," Jones posted on his since-deleted Instagram story, referencing Graham, the Raiders' Yale-educated defensive coordinator.


"It's a shame that I am a top athlete with 112 sacks in the NFL and I have to go to a local gym to work out during the season for no apparent reason this is wild to me Josh and you know it you need to do what's right," Jones posted, apparently part of a text string aimed at McDaniels.

Jones' agent, Ethan Lock, told ESPN he had no comment, while defensive teammate Nate Hobbs offered his support.

"That's my brother," said Hobbs. "I just hope he's OK. I wish the best for him."

Veteran receiver Davante Adams chose to keep his eyes on the task at hand -- beating the Broncos.

"Everybody's got to focus on what we've got to focus on," said Adams. "And the only thing that's important this week is this game, so we've got to lock in on that."

Rookie defensive end Tyree Wilson, whom the Raiders selected No. 7 overall in April's NFL draft, stands to see his workload increase if Jones doesn't play.

"I mean, s---, I prepare every day like everybody else -- it's the next-man-up mentality," said Wilson. "No matter what, I got to put the best out there for my brothers, so we get the best defense out there at the end of the day."

Jones has a long history with McDaniels and Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler, having been drafted by their previous team, the New England Patriots, in 2012 and playing his first four seasons there.

But in January 2016, Jones was hospitalized after showing up at the Foxborough Police Department, reportedly having had a bad reaction to synthetic marijuana. Jones played in the Patriots' two playoff games after the hospitalization and less than two months later was traded to the Arizona Cardinals, with whom he spent his next six NFL seasons.

With the Raiders, Jones had a slow start before getting three sacks against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13, adding another sack a week later at the Los Angeles Rams and then giving the Raiders a wild 30-24 walk-off victory against the Patriots on his 48-yard fumble return as time expired.

An elbow injury at the Pittsburgh Steelers a week later on Christmas Eve, though, ended his season.

A motivated Jones reported to camp lighter and said he did not need surgery on his elbow. He also welcomed the chance to be a mentor to Wilson.

"All of the young players, whatever opportunity they have to talk to me and try to pick my brain, they do, especially Tyree," Jones said early in camp. "But all the young players, they kind of see me as the older OG. They know that I have a lot of knowledge in this game, and they pick my brain every chance they get."

With Jones away from the team and possibly not playing at Denver, the Raiders would have to lean more heavily on third-year edge rusher Malcolm Koonce, who has two career sacks, and Wilson, who came off the non-football injury list Aug. 16 and made his preseason debut in the exhibition finale at the Dallas Cowboys on Aug. 26, opposite two-time Pro Bowler Maxx Crosby.

McDaniels said no Raiders player would play 70 snaps in the opener.

"We deal with different things throughout the course of the year," McDaniels said, "whether it's injuries or other adversities. So, I think the guys are focused on trying to control things that they can control and get ready to play the best game we can play on Sunday."