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Former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach and current ESPN NFL analyst Jon Gruden said coaching is the farthest thing from his mind in the wake or rumors linking him to the Raiders’ head coaching job. The Raiders fired head coach Dennis Allen on Sept. 29 after an overall 8-28 record with the team.
Gruden, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Raiders head coach, told ESPN colleague Bill Williamson on Oct. 1 that he is “not thinking about coaching” in the wake of rumors linking him to the Raiders’ head coaching job:
“For the next three months, the Raider Nation will have Jon Gruden on the brain.
“Every time the Oakland Raiders make a coaching change (they do it often), Gruden’s name comes up. Gruden was wildly popular as Oakland’s coach from 1998-2001 and he remains a fan favorite. There have been rumors that Oakland will toss big dollars at Gruden in an attempt to get him to leave ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football’ and lead the Silver and Black back to prominence.
“Oakland owner Mark Davis added fuel to the fire when he said he might call Gruden about the job, or perhaps Gruden would call him, when asked Tuesday at the news conference on the firing of coach Dennis Allen and the hiring of interim coach Tony Sparano.
“Wednesday, Gruden appeared on ESPN Radio’s ‘Mike & Mike.’ This (was) what he said about a return to the sidelines: ‘I’m not thinking about coaching. I’m thinking about heading to Washington, watching the world champions and my brother coach.’
“Gruden’s brother, Jay, coaches the Redskins, who play host to the Seahawks on Monday night.
“Earlier in the interview, Gruden talked about the unstable situation in Oakland.
“‘(There needs) to be continuity in the organization,’ Gruden said. ‘(Lack of continuity) is hard on an organization, hard on fans, hard on an owner…they need to finish the season and evaluate where they are.'”
For the Win’s Chris Chase wrote his sentiments about the thought of Gruden going back to Oakland in his Sept. 30 blog:
“I’m sure Mark Davis does want that. He reportedly has been keen on Gruden before. But Davis probably wants cloned versions of Kenny Stabler, Willie Brown, Howie Long, and Mike Haynes too, along with a straight-up trade of Derek Carr for Andrew Luck. What he wants is completely different than what he can get. And can the Oakland Raiders get Jon Gruden back?
“Perhaps, but it’s hard to see why. Gruden has a stable, well-paying, stress-free gig at ESPN. He works in the hallowed Monday Night Football booth and has gotten good at it too, finally finding the line between schtick and analysis. He’s 51 years old and hasn’t coached since the 2008 season. So far, he’s remained in the comfort of MNF rather than face the uncertainty and demands of an NFL job, despite apparent interest on both sides of the table. Maybe Gruden becomes a Bill Cowher type, who keeps putting off a return until he realizes that the life of an analyst is pretty swell.
“Or maybe Gruden’s fire can’t be contained. Sitting five stories above the field doesn’t provide the same rush as standing on it, the game on your clipboard. Studying tape of next week’s teams can’t hold a candle to late-night film sessions looking for a weakness to exploit in Andrew Luck. That’s exactly why going to Oakland doesn’t make sense.
“Why would Gruden waste his comeback on an organization that goes through coaches like most teams go through practice-squad players? Even if he loves Derek Carr, isn’t the specter of Davis in the front office enough to scare him away? Isn’t the organizational instability too much to trust? The idea is that Gruden would get all the power if he goes to Oakland and that would be too much to turn down.
“But being in the MNF booth should have shown Gruden that big-money coaches who demand control of everything almost inevitably flame out (A former Raiders coach — Mike Shanahan — proved that in Washington). Bill Parcells was wrong. You can’t shop for the groceries and cook them too. They’re both full-time jobs.
“Gruden is a fine football coach. He has a great football mind. He also seems to have a good bit of self-awareness. He has to know he’s no miracle worker. The Raiders roster is in desperate need of an overhaul and getting into a rebuilding effort can’t be an enticing selling point.”
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