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Odds of Jon Gruden becoming the next Raiders head coach were virtually nil. That was before he agreed to a contract extension with ESPN that lasts through 2021.
Now they’ve been formally dashed.
The network announced the deal during a broadcast of “Monday Night Football.” While that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of an eventual return to coaching, it certainly means he won’t return to the sideline this offseason.
Raiders owner Mark Davis’ affinity for Gruden was no secret. He guided the Raiders through a golden era, a period from 1998-2001 that included consecutive playoff appearances and one trip to the AFC championship.
After promoting Tony Sparano to interim head coach following Dennis Allen’s firing, Gruden’s name came up following a press conference featuring Sparano and general manager Reggie McKenzie.
[RELATED: Sparano wants to remain Raiders head coach]
“He may reach out to me, I may reach out to him,” Davis said at the time. “I may reach out to anybody. That’s the future and I’m not going to talk about future coaches.”
Gruden issued a statement in October saying, among other things, “I’m not even thinking about coaching.”
Gruden has rebuffed overtures be a head coach and leave ESPN, where he has worked as an analyst on “Monday Night Football,” among other duties, since 2009. He was fired from his post as Tampa Bay head coach following the 2008 season.
The Raiders are expected to go outside the organization for their next head coach. National reports have suggested the Silver and Black could go after a big-name to lead next year’s team.