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NFL coaching legend Dick Vermeil told SiriusXM NFL Radio on July 14 that former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach and current ESPN NFL analyst Jon Gruden can make a successful comeback to the league.
This was what Vermeil said during a July 14 SiriusXM NFL Radio interview, per Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith:
“Dick Vermeil was 46 years old when he retired as the coach of of the Eagles and went into broadcasting, and then coached the (St. Louis) Rams when he was in his 60s and won a Super Bowl. Vermeil thinks Jon Gruden /4/do the same thing.
“Vermeil said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he believes Gruden, who left coaching at age 45 and now is the commentator on Monday Night Football, /4/eventually come back and succeed as a coach, just as Vermeil did in St. Louis.
“‘No question, he’s a hell of a lot better coach than I am, and a lot smarter,’ Vermeil said of Gruden. ‘I think he would be very successful. I hope he does come back, because I like him a lot.’
“Vermeil said that coaches often regret walking away — and Vermeil himself regretted it when he retired from the Rams after winning Super Bowl XXXIV. Vermeil said he foolishly left the Rams because he wanted to spend time with his family and didn’t want to cut some of the aging veterans he had grown fond of. In hindsight, all he needed was a vacation.
“‘Poor decision — I made a mistake,’ Vermeil said of leaving the Rams. ‘My family wanted me home and I was tired and I didn’t want to cut the squad and go into free agency and I thought at my age, to go out a champion was a great opportunity.’
“Fortunately for Vermeil, he got a third shot in coaching when the Chiefs came calling a year later. Gruden /4/get another shot in coaching too. And he /4/find just as much as success as Vermeil did.”
Gruden was at Washington Redskins OTA last month and spoke about his brother and new head coach of the Redskins, Jay, as well as quarterback Robert Griffin III with ESPN’s John Keim:
“ESPN ‘Monday Night Football’ analyst Jon Gruden still says — jokes? — that Jay Gruden is the better coach. If that is the case he has a lot to prove. For now, he’s a rookie head coach trying to build a winning team.
“But Jon Gruden said he learned a lot about his brother when both worked in Tampa. The younger Gruden served as an offensive assistant, sitting in the press box with a headset during games.
“‘In a lot of ways he was like a coordinator with the Buccaneers,’ said Jon Gruden, 50, and three years older than Jay. ‘A lot of the plays that I called went through him. He’s been able to see the game from a quarterback’s perspective for a long time. I like the way he develops young players.
“‘I like the way he did that for me in Tampa and the way he did that in the Arena League. If you look at the Bengals skill players, people can say all they want, but a lot of the young players played and played well fast.’
“Jay Gruden will have to duplicate that success in Washington, though the young players on offense have already been starters in the NFL. But the one player Jay Gruden needs to have this happen with is quarterback Robert Griffin III.
“‘It’s awful early to make a bunch of predictions,’ Jon Gruden said. ‘He obviously had his eyes open to the NFL, and I know I had my eyes opened quickly as well. It will make him better in the long run. Mentally tougher. I think he’s obviously way ahead of he game physically.
“‘Last year he was hurt at this time. It’ll be an interesting thing to see how he likes this new offense and how he performs. I have a lot of confidence in him.
“‘I don’t know what happened here the last couple years. He was the rookie of the year. I just know the offense will be different. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.'”
Jon Gruden coached in the NFL from 1998-2008. He has a 95-81 (.540) win-loss record, per Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Gruden joined ESPN as an NFL analyst in 2009. He made his debut on the network on Monday Night Football that year, according to his official ESPN Media Zone bio.
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