Oakland Raiders: Jon Gruden Called Al Davis About HC Job Before Death


Greg Papa is a legendary figure within the Oakland Raiders, so he has plenty of inside information that many do not have as a longtime announcer of the Silver and Black. So when Papa tells a story, especially one about the late, great Al Davis, people tend to pay attention and his latest story is one that is most interesting as it involves the Raiders most beloved former coach from the modern era in Jon Gruden.

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Gruden of course signed a new deal with Monday Night Football, indicating that he wants to stay in the booth rather than come back home to the Raiders anytime soon however Papa has recently mentioned that wasn’t always the case. According to Papa, back when Al Davis was still alive and running the team, the current Spider 2Y Banana fanatic would call Davis about the Raiders head coach job when it was vacant.

Outstanding Raiders blogger James Arcellana (friend of JBB and frequent JBB Podcast guest) pointed out Papa dropping this bombshell on The Wheelhouse on 95.7 The Game recently that at one point Gruden wanted the job back, going as far as calling up Al Davis about it. Something that Davis should have maybe taken Gruden up on as the two enjoyed the Raiders greatest successes since coming back from Los Angeles together.

From Arcellana:

"Gruden has declined numerous offers from numerous teams to get back into the coaching ranks. Rumors even swirled among various insiders that Gruden had turned down absurd amounts of money to stay off the sidelines and in the booth. That’s why it was rather surprising to find out that during that time, Gruden contacted Al Davis twice in order to inquire about the Raiders head coaching job.That little bit of news was dropped by Raiders play by play announcer Greg Papa on his radio show Tuesday afternoon, The Wheelhouse. He and co-host John Lund were discussing “bad breakups” with Jim Harbaugh being the focus when the conversation switched to the Raiders. Lund asked Papa if Gruden and the late Al Davis had ever buried the hatchet. Papa said they had talked but had never fully moved on from the drama that led to Gruden’s departure. This was no surprise since I doubt Al Davis makes up with many people he gets into major fights with (see Marcus Allen). But then Papa dropped the bomb that Gruden wanted the Raiders job in the past and even called Al to ask about it."

Now that Al Davis has passed it may be too late for the Raiders to ever orchestrate a Gruden return as much of the prestige of the job to the current Monday Night Football color guy likely involved Davis’ reputation and what came with it in Oakland. With the team having an unsure stadium future in Oakland and Al Davis’ son in Mark running the franchise now things may be different for Jon Gruden who is now older and has enjoyed the schedule that being on Monday Night Football gives compared to the grind of head coaching. Raiders fans will be left to wonder “what if” thanks to Papa’s bombshell as if Gruden came back during the final years of Al Davis’ life things may have been significantly different for the franchise than with Art Shell and Tom Cable at the helm.