The Oakland Raiders could be making a change at head coach. One name that keeps coming up is former head coach Jon Gruden. Will these rumors manifest?
The 2018 head coaching carousel is beginning to pick up steam. So many teams are expected to move on from their head coaches on Black Monday, Jan. 1. One team that could join the carousel party are the Oakland Raiders. Their top target should they move on from head coach Jack Del Rio is none other than former Raiders coach Jon Gruden.
Yes, we have found ourselves in the midst of some Grumors. Unlike that debacle we all saw go down with the Tennessee Volunteers in the SEC, this linking to Gruden back with the Silver and Black could have some teeth to it.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen first reported Saturday evening that the Raiders could have interest in bringing Gruden back into the fold. He used to coach the Silver and Black from 1998 to 2001. Gruden would win a Super Bowl with the 2002 Tampa Buccaneers, but has been out of coaching since 2008. He has been ESPN’s color commentator for Monday Night Football since the 2009 NFL season.
Gruden has eyed a return to coaching from afar in the ESPN booth. His interest in rejoining the Raiders could be for two reasons. One, he likes what the Raiders have in proven starting quarterback Derek Carr. Two, Raiders owner Mark Davis could be willing to give Gruden at stake in the team’s ownership.
The Raiders could move on from Del Rio after Sunday’s game against the division rival Los Angeles Chargers. Even though he signed a four-year extension last offseason, the Raiders have fallen below .500 in 2017. The team has looked dreadful at times, especially on offense. First-year offensive coordinator Todd Downing is not expected to return in 2018.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Raiders are either going to keep Del Rio heading into next year or part ways with him in favor of Gruden should he be willing to leave the ESPN booth. Rapoport would add that Davis and the Raiders have tried to bring Gruden back before, albeit unsuccessfully.
Shortly before the Week 17 slate was under way, Rapoport mentioned that one guy that could be an assistant on Gruden’s staff should he take over in Oakland is former NFL MVP quarterback Rich Gannon. Gannon, who works in the booth with Kevin Harlan for CBS, will interestingly be calling this game between the Raiders and the Chargers in the StubHub Center on New Year’s Eve.
Gannon’s best years in the NFL came with the Silver and Black from 1999 to 2004. He would make it to four straight Pro Bowls (1999-02), make two All-Pro teams (2000, 2002) and win NFL MVP in 2002 while leading the Raiders to the Super Bowl.
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Gannon would retire after the 2004 NFL season and has been in the CBS booth ever since. Together, Gruden and Gannon did extraordinary things in the AFC West.
Though he doesn’t have coaching experience, it’s hard to overlook the personal connection he has with Gruden.
Gruden’s name has been tied to head coaching jobs for the last several years. His agent always uses the threat of going back to coaching as leverage with upping his deal at ESPN. However, the notion he could come back to the Raiders doesn’t seem all that farfetched.
Maybe Gruden is tired of being in the booth? If he and Gannon come back to the Raiders organization on a new coaching, that would be something else. Could this really be going down? Let’s just sit back and see where the coaching carousel takes us.