Jon Gruden is thinking about an NFL return, and rumors are hinting that the New York Jets or Green Bay Packers are two potential landing points.
This week, the ESPN analyst revealed that he had been thinking a lot about a return to the sidelines and had even been watching game films to stay prepared.
“I’ve met with several people – I won’t deny that,” Gruden told Pewter Report. “People – just about every year I talk about coming back to coach. I’m not in here every day at 4:30 or 4:00 in the morning watching pinball. You know? I’m preparing myself to come back. I am. Every day. I’m preparing to come back.”
While Gruden didn’t say if he had a specific team in mind or had been in talks with anyone, there were already rumors about where he could be headed.
Two teams with coaches on the hot seat could be at the top of that pile. The Green Bay Packers have seen plenty of success under Mike McCarthy, but there are reports that he’s on the hot seat after the team needed a six-game, end-of-season winning streak to even reach the playoffs last year, with a blowout loss to the Atlanta Falcons as their reward.
As Sports Illustrated noted, McCarthy is considered one of a handful of coaches on the hot seat going into the season.
“McCarthy’s detractors still would point to six straight Super Bowl-less seasons during Aaron Rodgers’s prime, plus the blowout NFC title-game loss to Atlanta as evidence that McCarthy should have a short leash. If he were fired, another franchise would scoop him up in a heartbeat.”
If Jon Gruden were to return to the NFL, he would likely have his pick of destinations, and a Green Bay Packers team with a still-in-his-prime Aaron Rodgers might be the most attractive pick.
Another team with a big market, but a very murky future, could also be an option for Jon Gruden, should he return to the NFL. The New York Jets have very low expectations going into the 2017 season, with nothing but question marks at the quarterback position, and a very competitive division, which includes the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and an on-the-rise Miami Dolphins team.
The Jets have a coach in Todd Bowles who is on even shakier ground than Mike McCarthy and will more than likely be gone with another losing season. While the team itself may be in bad shape, there are a lot of factors around the New York Jets that would be attractive to Jon Gruden.
For one, New York is the biggest media market and one that’s drawn a lot of interest from Gruden in the past. Earlier this year, he opened up to 247Sports about how the rebuilding process is going and how the Jets shouldn’t rush the process. The Jets will also have a high draft pick next year, possibly first overall, that could spark a fast rebuilding process.
There are other rumors that Jon Gruden’s statements about returning to the NFL could just be an attempt to get leverage in salary talks with ESPN, but if he were to return, there would likely be plenty of interested teams.
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