Earlier this month, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers inducted Super Bowl-winning former head coach Jon Gruden into the team’s Ring of Honor. Gruden clearly reveled in being back on the field again and out of the broadcast booth, and a new round of rumors suggests there could be another visor and headset in his future.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Christmas Eve that Gruden is doing a bit of a personnel dance, contacting former assistants to see if they might be interested in a new gig.
Grumors on @NFLGameDay: Jon Gruden is reaching out to possible assistants as many wonder if this year is different, while Jay Gruden is a top target for the #Bengals — if available. pic.twitter.com/ZVvniD5nvr
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 24, 2017
“Gruden right now is going through the process of reaching out to former assistants and friends in the coaching industry to see if they would potentially come with him if he were able to get a head coaching job,” Rapoport said. “Of course, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do have Dirk Koetter on the hot seat. That would be his preferred destination.”
It’s important to note a few points. First, this isn’t an indication that Gruden has a new job lined up, or that he’s even being considered. Plus, he’s been out of the coaching game since the end of the 2008 season. That’s two generations in NFL time. The players he’d be drafting next year were in elementary school the last time Gruden wore a headset.
But the top quality NFL teams look for in a new coach is an old coach, and Gruden has spent the last decade at the top of every college and pro fan’s wish list for a new top dog. Plus, he’s got deep contacts across the league, and could assemble a strong roster of assistants that would, in theory, help him through the rough spots.
It’ll make for a fascinating next few weeks of discussion, or a fatter ESPN paycheck for Gruden, one of the two.
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