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Raiders looking to reunite with Jon Gruden

01 January 2018

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Saturday, citing sources, that the Oakland Raiders are prepared to make a large offer to their former head coach.

Sources says Gruden is going to be tempted by the offer, but would rather not make any final decision until the final week of the regular season concludes Sunday and Oakland makes its final decision on Jack Del Rio, its current head coach, who last summer signed a new contract extension. If it appears to be a done deal, there's a chance that any potential minority candidates would decline to sit for the job. Their top target should they move on from head coach Jack Del Rio is none other than former Raiders coach Jon Gruden.

But this time, Gruden would be given enough power in Oakland to be able to reshape the front office, coaching staff and entire organization, though there still are some holdovers from when he coached there. Gruden went 57-55 during seven seasons with the Bucs, which included winning the Super Bowl during his first year and winning the NFC South three times. Each QB was scrapped in the offseason, and Gruden turned a 34-year-old journeyman signal caller, Rich Gannon, into a franchise quarterback by 2000, but not until he lost eight games with Gannon their first year together in 1999.

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The Raiders finished the season at 6-10 after the starting the season hoping for a Super Bowl run after going 12-4 last season. Sure that's not bad, but it seems odd that any team would go to these lengths to bring him back now.

Gruden, 54, has been reluctant to return to the NFL in part because of his high-paying job with ESPN on Monday Night Football and because he has been vocal in his distaste for NFLPA-mandated restrictions on practice and training time. 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.

ESPN reports that the Raiders potential offer to Gruden could include an ownership stake in the team, which would complicate matters as that provision would have to be approved by National Football League owners.

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So, it's natural to remain skeptical about Gruden leaving ESPN, but this Raiders rumor is certainly an interesting one.

Though he doesn't have coaching experience, it's hard to overlook the personal connection he has with Gruden. The list includes Jon and brother Jay Gruden, the Washington Redskins' head coach, - plus Del Rio.

The reasons for the Buccaneers deciding to keep coach Dirk Koetter possibly are becoming clearer.

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Raiders looking to reunite with Jon Gruden