Well, we guess that you can go home again. The team that originally hired Jon Gruden, as a first-time NFL head coach has rehired him. The Oakland, soon-to-be Las Vegas, Raiders have apparently reached agreement bring back the current broadcaster. This, according to a Raiders website reporter and author who tweeted it first Friday afternoon:
Breaking: Jon Gruden will be introduced as the #Raiders head coach Tuesday, in a "splashy" news conference, I was informed by a team source.
— Steve Corkran (@CorkOnTheNFL) January 5, 2018
Gruden who last coached in the NFL in 2008 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will come out of the ESPN Monday Night Football broadcast booth to rejoin the team, who he coached from 1998-2001.
After taking the Raiders to the AFC Championship game in 2000, where they lost to the eventual Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, the next year they famously lost in the snow in Foxboro to Tom Brady and company with the infamous “Tuck Rule.” That off-season Gruden was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two number one and two number two draft picks and $8 million.
Gruden led the Buccaneers to a 12 and 4 season his first year, 2002, and eventually to Super Bowl 37 against his old team the Raiders. The Buccaneers won 48-21 making Gruden the first-ever Super Bowl head coach to win the game against the team he had coached the year before.
Gruden took the Bucs to the playoffs twice more in 2005 and 2007, but they lost on Wildcard weekend both times. He was fired after his 9-3 Bucs lost the final four games of 2008, including, ironically, the final game to the Raiders to finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs.
The Bucs themselves were reportedly pursuing Gruden, as the Glazer family wanted to attempt to recapture the magic of the early 2000s. They actually put Gruden in their Ring of Honor for the 15th anniversary of the Super Bowl back on December 17th on Monday Night Football. Gruden gave a rousing halftime speech, as his name went up on the stadium concourse.
Alas, the Glazers could not land Gruden to return to Tampa Bay.
However, apparently the lure to go back to the Raiders and eventually, their new home Las Vegas appear to be the perfect match at this time. And when Oakland surprisingly fired coach Jack Del Rio after their regular season finale Sunday night in L.A., word spread like wildfire that this was to set the stage for Gruden’s return.
He will reportedly make an NFL record $10 million per season to return to the sidelines.
Gruden is still slated to work ESPN’s coverage of the AFC wild-card game between the Chiefs and the Titans on Saturday afternoon. Many have pointed out the conflict of interest with the fact that he’s been inside the Kansas City Chiefs building for the last two days preparing for the game. And the Chiefs are a division rival of the Raiders in the AFC West.
There has been no word from ESPN all week about the possibility of replacing Gruden on the game broadcast with Sean McDonough.
So for now, it’s welcome back “Chucky” to the Raiders and eventually, to the new market in Las Vegas.
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