|Super Bowl winner Jon Gruden has been out of coaching since the Bucs fired him following the 2008 season. (Getty Images)|
There is a growing belief this is the time Jon Gruden finally returns to coaching.
Gruden will deny this as he is one of the great slicksters in the profession and his current employer, ESPN, might not know his true intentions. Yet sources around the sport, including several assistant coaches, say Gruden has been quietly asking some NFL assistants, hypothetically, that if he did come back, would they be interested in joining him.
It's unclear if Gruden is planning a college or NFL return but since, for the moment, it seems he's asking NFL assistants about their interest, the NFL is his likely destination.
Several sources say Gruden isn't making clear where he would like to coach. Howard Eskin of WIP radio in Philadelphia reported Gruden could be next coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. But sources say Gruden isn't disclosing any kind of wish list. In fact, he isn't disclosing much at all, other than this is possibly the year he makes his return.
The way sources portray the situation is that Gruden wants to be ready if and when teams begin to ask about his availability. If the right situation is available, these sources say, Gruden will have a skeleton staff ready and can move quickly. If the right situation does not appear, he would simply stay at ESPN until it did.
See you soon, Jon?