Jon Gruden could soon be headed back to the NFL sidelines, at least if Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis has his way.
The Raiders just fired coach Dennis Allen after the team’s flat 0-4 start, and now sources say they want to bring Gruden out of coaching retirement to once again lead the team. Gruden coached the Raiders from 1998 to 2001, then beat the team in the Super Bowl one year after he was traded the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
To date, Jon Gruden has denied the nearly annual rumors that he is being targeted for head coaching vacancies. His name is tossed into consideration each January as teams ditch their coaches, but Gruden has always denied it.
Late in 2013, Gruden made it clear he wasn’t interested in any of the half dozen or so vacancies at he time.
“I don’t want to be considered for any of these jobs,” Gruden told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “I don’t want to be considered for anything. There are plenty of good candidates out there. I’m just sick for the guys who can no longer coach their teams. … I’m hoping to do the best I can to hang on to my job.”
But Jon Gruden has expressed interest in the Oakland Raiders in the past. Jason LaCanfora reported last year that Gruden may be interested in returning coach the Raiders, and his former quarterback Rich Gannon also raised the possibility.
“I’ve had conversations with Jon in the past,” Gannon said in a late 2013 interview with 95.7 The Game. “I don’t think [a return to Oakland] is outside the realm of possibilities.”
Gannon added that Gruden didn’t see eye-to-eye with the late Raiders owner Al Davis, but could go somewhere with a less-involved owner. Mark Davis could fit the bill.
“I know that he still has the desire to get back and do it at some point,” Gannon said. “I don’t know when. I don’t know where. But I know this, that he had two bad experiences as a head coach with some owners that he just had a tough time with.”
For now, Jon Gruden remains under contract with ESPN for the next several years, but insiders say he would leave for the right opportunity. It remains to be seen if that is the Oakland Raiders.
[Image via ESPN]