When Jack Del Rio was fired as Oakland Raiders coach after Sunday’s game, it seemed that the team’s next step would be hiring Jon Gruden.
That could happen, but it might take a little time. First, Gruden has a job with ESPN and the network has one more game to broadcast. ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer said Monday that Gruden will be in the booth for Saturday’s playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. Plans could change, but it sounds like ESPN is figuring on him broadcasting the game.
There’s also the matter of the Raiders satisfying the Rooney Rule. That won’t be easy considering anyone agreeing to interview knows he has no real shot at the job, assuming Gruden wants it. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Gruden will be careful to not say yes before the Rooney Rule is satisfied. In the same report, he said Gruden plans to call plays for the Raiders and will hire Paul Guenther as his defensive coordinator, so the wheels are already in motion.
The Raiders reportedly will offer Gruden a massive deal to come out of the booth to coach again. It feels like if Gruden turns this down it really will signal that he’s not going to coach again. And until Gruden has formally agreed, nothing can be for certain.
If nothing else, it will be interesting to hear him call a game on Saturday as he’s becoming the biggest story in the NFL.
– – – – – – –