Jon Gruden: Coaching not in his plans

Jon Gruden: Coaching not in his plans

For years, Raiders fans have pined for the return of coach Jon Gruden. The firing of Dennis Allen coupled with owner Mark Davis embracing the possibility of Gruden being hired again stoked those flames.

On Wednesday, Gruden issued a statement through current employer ESPN that throws a bit of cold water on the Raiders situation.

“I have seven or eight friends that are bloggers and use different screen names and they bring my name up every year when there’s a coaching job,” Gruden said jokingly on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike. “I’d like to thank those anonymous bloggers, I appreciate it. I’m just trying to hang onto my job, to be honest with you guys. It’s four weeks into the season; some of these teams haven’t even played three games yet, so I’m not even thinking about coaching.

“I’m thinking about heading to Washington next week, watching the world champions and my brother coach. That will be exciting for me.”

Team owner Mark Davis had said Tuesday that the Raiders might contact Gruden about returning to his former job, team owner Mark Davis told multiple media outlets Tuesday.

“(Gruden) may reach out to me,” Davis told reporters. “I may reach out to him. I may reach out to anybody. That’s the future, and I’m not going to talk about future coaches.”

Oakland traded Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in February 2002. In exchange, the Raiders received two first-round draft picks, two second-rounders and $8 million.

In a twist of fate, the Raiders met the Buccaneers in the next Super Bowl, with Gruden’s new team beating his old team to win the championship.
Oakland did not post a winning record and did not reach the playoffs in the next 11 seasons. The Raiders are off to an 0-4 start this year, prompting them to fire coach Dennis Allen this week and replace him on an interim basis with Tony Sparano.

Gruden, 51, compiled a 60-57 record in Tampa Bay, counting postseason games. The Buccaneers fired him in January 2009 after the team lost its final four games to finish 9-7 and miss out on the playoffs.

In May 2009, Gruden was hired by ESPN to serve as a commentator on “Monday Night Football.”

Asked what the Raiders need to turn the franchise’s fortunes around, Gruden said, “Well, I think they need to get some continuity in the organization. When you look at the NFL carefully, the Cleveland Browns, the Washington Redskins, the Raiders, there’s a few teams that have had eight or nine, 10 coaches since 1999. And that’s hard on an organization. It’s hard on the fans, it’s hard on the owner. It’s just difficult to figure out which direction we’re headed.”

NFL.com’s Albert Breer reported that Gruden would return to the sideline only if he believed a team had a franchise quarterback, adding that Gruden “really likes” Raiders rookie QB Derek Carr.

Citing anonymous sources, NFL.com’s Michael Silver said the Raiders are prepared to pay a high sum to attract Gruden.