It’s looking more and more as if the Raiders will rehire Jon Gruden as their head coach, ESPN.com reported Monday, the morning after Jack Del Rio was fired following Oakland’s season-ending 30-10 loss to the Chargers.
And if anyone had any doubts about Jon Gruden coming back….
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 1, 2018
ESPN initially reported Saturday that the Raiders were pursuing Gruden, who coached the Raiders from 1998-2001, posting a 38-26 mark. According to the report, the team was offering an ownership stake to entice the former NFL coach and current ESPN broadcaster.
Gruden also led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl championship in 2002, beating the Raiders in the title game. Gruden was 95-81 in six seasons in Tampa Bay.
“I don’t want to sit here and speculate. … There is no news to report,” Gruden said Saturday. “I can’t say I haven’t taken any phone calls. I take a lot every year from coaches, some others. … Yeah, sometimes owners. Guys want to bounce ideas off me. I’m here to help people.”
There had been high hopes in Oakland after the team went 12-4 in 2016 to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002. That success led the owner Mark Davis giving Del Rio to a four-year contract extension earlier this year.
By late Sunday, after Del Rio’s ouster only further fueled the Gruden-to-Oakland rumors, reports of potential coaching staff members began.
The New York Daily News reported that Gruden would be “interested in Jets offensive coordinator John Morton if/when he gets the Oakland Raiders job.”
Morton previously worked with Gruden as an assistant with the Raiders and, according to the Daily News, considers Gruden a mentor. The Jets wouldn’t stand in Morton’s way if he wanted to rejoin Gruden, the Daily News reported, citing unidentified sources.
Former Raiders QB Rich Gannon’s name also has been mentioned as a potential quarterbacks coach on Gruden’s staff, NFL.com reported Sunday.
Gannon touched on the topic during Sunday’s telecast, obviously before Del Rio, 25-23 mark in three seasons with the Raiders, was fired.
“The last time I checked, (Gruden is) still employed at another network, and I’ve got too much respect for the coaching profession, the coaching staff, to speculate about what may or may not happen before the season’s over,” Gannon said (via the San Jose Mercury News). “But I can tell you, Jon Gruden has always thought of himself as a coach and has never stopped doing that.