Jon Gruden to the Eagles: Foregone conclusion or Philadelphia tease?

Jay Busbee
Shutdown Corner

These are tough days for Eagles fans. When you expect greatness, when you've got a marquee running back and a theoretically multiple-threat quarterback, when you've got a long track record of postseason appearances and an expectation of more, totaling just three wins halfway through the season just doesn't cut it.

All that free-floating Philly rage has to go somewhere, and it's largely landed right atop head coach Andy Reid. The fans are ready for Reid to go, and most would accept even a cheesesteak in his place. (In fairness, the cheesesteak might have better clock management.)

But these are dangerous times for Eagles fans; this is when hope starts to overwhelm reason. When you place all your team's woes on one person, and you assume that swapping out that one person will bring salvation, you get a little sideways in your thinking. This is when you start deifying the unknown.

To wit: Jon Gruden coming to save Philadelphia.

Gruden is this generation's version of Bill Parcells, a man whose name shows up in every coaching search everywhere. Indeed, a lively University of Tennessee faction has even started a Facebook page to induct Gruden into Volunteer Nation.

And now, a Philadelphia radio broadcaster has upped the stakes. Howard Eskin is reporting that Gruden is interested in coaching again ... and from there, well, you've got to assume he's going to Philadelphia, right?

"Jon Gruden definitely, positively, wants to coach again," he told the WIP Morning Show Friday. "He's got the itch ... He's a football coach and he wants to coach again."

Maybe yes, maybe no. Gruden has the very definition of a cushy job right now as a "Monday Night Football" analyst, where his toughest task is coming up with player nicknames that nobody will ever use. But even if Gruden, once the Eagles' offensive coordinator, does want to come back to coaching, which is not a huge leap to make, why would he necessarily go to Philly?

Eskin did note that nobody from the Eagles organization has talked to Gruden, and that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and Gruden are "fine." "I think there were some people in the organization that weren't high on Gruden at one time, but I don't think that's the case any longer," he said. Again, Philadelphia fans: This is not exactly painting Gruden's name on a parking space at The Linc.

It's also worth noting that Gruden did not return Eskin's inquiry: "I did reach out to Jon Gruden ... I sent him a text and he did not answer. When he doesn't want to answer my questions, he doesn't answer my questions. He did not in this case."

So, yes, at the moment we've got two stories -- Andy Reid likely on the way out, Jon Gruden possibly on the way back in -- that are yoked together only by hopeful imagination. It could come to pass, but as Eagles fans could tell you this year, hoping for the best with no evidence doesn't exactly pay dividends.

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