Raiders owner Mark Davis would love to reel in a big fish during the Raiders next coaching search, and it’s no secret he’d use enticing bait to lure Jon Gruden back to the Silver and Black.
Davis has reached out to Gruden in the past – the former Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach is comfortable in his role on “Monday Night Football” – and will likely do so again with Dennis Allen fired and Tony Sparano leading on an interim basis.
Davis said as much during a press conference announcing Sparano’s promotion.
“(Gruden) may reach out to me. I may reach out to him,” Davis said. “I may reach out to anybody. But that’s the future and I’m not going to talk about future coaches.”
Frequently brought up to fill coaching vacancies, Gruden enjoys his job too much to throw his hat in the ring.
“I'm not even thinking about coaching,” Gruden said in a Wednesday morning interview on ESPN Radio. “I'm thinking about heading to Washington (play on MNF) next week, watching the world champion (Seattle Seahawks) and my brother coach (Washington). That will be exciting for me."
That’s a standard denial for Gruden, who has dodged such questions masterfully in recent years. He stays outside the main mix, but won’t eliminate the prospect of coming back to the NFL.
The Raiders would love for that return to come in Oakland.
He was 40-28 in his stint as Raiders head coach, and has widespread support from the fan base. Bringing him back would be a coup for Davis, though it may prove difficult.
Gruden has a cushy TV job, and might prefer a team in better position to win right away if he does come back. The Raiders have young franchise quarterback Derek Carr in their corner, which is a plus. And money, or course, must be substantial. Davis could pony up for a guy like Gruden.
Still wearing his commentator hat, Gruden believes a lack of stability has caused the Raiders struggles.
"Well, I think they need to get some continuity in the organization," he said. "When you look at the NFL carefully, the Cleveland Browns, Washington, 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."