Jon Gruden explains why Raiders cut ‘Hard Knocks’ star Keelan Doss

The Oakland Raiders surprised “Hard Knocks” viewers on Saturday when they waived wide receiver Keelan Doss, an undrafted rookie championed as a “hometown hero” on HBO’s hit show.

Doss grew up in Alameda and played college football at UC Davis, but did not make the team’s final 53-man roster and chose to join the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad over the Raiders’ practice squad.

Head coach Jon Gruden was asked Monday about why the Raiders released Doss, who was featured prominently on the show.

“That was your story line. That was not my story line,” Gruden told reporters. “Just so we’re on the same page. He did a heck of a job. We tried to keep him on practice squad. He felt he had a better opportunity to make the team in Jacksonville. So we hate to see him go. We’re happy for his future.”

MORE RAIDERS: Raiders claim QB DeShone Kizer off waivers

Gruden stated the Raiders liked young receivers Marcell Ateman and Rico Gafford more, and suggested there was more to Doss’ performance than “Hard Knocks” let on.

“(Doss) is in a tough spot,” Gruden said. “He’s a big story on the TV show. But that’s not the reality that we saw on tape.”

The receiver was on the sidelines for UC Davis’ football game against Cal on Saturday, and spoke to a reporter hours after being released.

“I can’t control any of it all,” he said. “All I can do is go out there and perform and play football and let the rest take care of itself.”

Doss also praised the “Hard Knocks” crew, stating, “They’ve been nothing but professional the whole time. Great dudes. I’m just happy to be a part of it. I take it as a chance to showcase myself and it was a great experience.”

Eric Ting is an SFGATE staff writer. Email: | Twitter:@_ericting

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