Jon Gruden: 'I think there's a good chance' I'll coach the Raiders
At this point, it would be a bigger surprise if Gruden wasn't on the Raiders' sideline next season
The Raiders fired Jack Del Rio on Sunday. We know this because Del Rio announced the news at what turned out to be his final post-game press conference with the team. In three seasons, he went 25-23 -- including a 12-4 record in 2016 -- but for owner Mark Davis, the thought of landing Jon Gruden was too much to ignore.
The reports of Gruden's return to Oakland, where he coached from 1998-2001, have been percolating for more than a week and by Monday morning the rumors were pretty clear: It was going to happen.
On Wednesday, Gruden, who is currently ESPN's color commentator for "Monday Night Football," appeared on "Golic and Wingo" to talk about his future.
So is Gruden going to be the Raiders' next coach?
"That's up to Mark Davis," he said. "I've had good conversations with Mark and they're still going through the interview process. When he knows, I think we'll all know, but I appreciate Adam [Schefter] and Chris [Mortensen's] confidence that I have a chance of getting that job -- it's awful nice though."
But what if Davis says Gruden's his guy, will he be the next coach of the Raiders?
"I think there's a good chance," Gruden said.
But here's the thing: Gruden hasn't been an NFL coach since 2008. So much has changed in that time -- from the rules to schemes to player evaluation and roster building -- that it's fair to wonder if the game has passed Gruden by.
"I'm excited about where I'm at in terms of studying the game and am prepared to come back and coach," Gruden explained before repeating things we've heard several times in recent days.
"I just don't want to sit here and speculate. ... I don't know what's gonna happen, I gotta be honest with you. It's been a long couple weeks. I know they've gone through their process of interviewing candidates. And until they're done I won't know but I did have a good meeting with Mark, I've known him a long time and I got a lot of respect for the Raider football organization."
When Gruden is hired, he'll return to Oakland with a 95-81 career record that spans 11 seasons. He was 38-26 with the Raiders and 57-55 with the Buccaneers, where he won a Super Bowl following the 2002 season. He'll also have something he never did in Tampa Bay: A franchise quarterback. Derek Carr is coming off a disappointing season but he was a legit MVP candidate in 2016. In seven seasons in Tampa, Gruden had a .509 winning percentage with Brad Johnson, Brian Griese, Chris Simms, Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown and Bruce Gradkowski under center.
There have been rumors that the Raiders offered Gruden an ownership stake, which he flatly denied.
"There's no truth to that at all. ... There's no validity to that at all. None. Zero."
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