It appears ESPN needs to find a new color commentator for “Monday Night Football.”
Jon Gruden will finally make his return to the sideline in 2018. Longtime NFL reporter Steve Corkran of RaidersSnakepit.com reported that the team will introduce Gruden as its new head coach in a news conference on Tuesday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed the report. It will be interesting to see what Gruden has to say about it on Saturday, when he does his final ESPN broadcast. He is slated to announce the Tennessee Titans-Kansas City Chiefs wild-card game with partner Sean McDonough.
And the Raiders made it worth it for Gruden to give up his job at ESPN. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Gruden’s deal is for 10 years and $100 million. It’s the longest coaching contract in NFL history, Schefter said.
The Raiders couldn’t have found a bigger name for the job, which opened when they fired Jack Del Rio as soon as the season ended. Before the season finale there were already reports the Raiders were going to offer Gruden a significant contract (all of this has made the Rooney Rule a bit of a farce, though the NFL said Friday that the team satisfied the rule by interviewing two minority candidates). The move brings Gruden back to the Raiders, who he coached through the 2001 season, when he was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Gruden already has his three top assistants in place, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network: Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson will be offensive coordinator, Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will take on the same role with Oakland and Cowboys special teams coach Rich Bisaccia will run Gruden’s special teams.
There will be a few more new coaches hired as the NFL’s carousel spins this offseason. But none will generate bigger headlines than Gruden’s return.
– – – – – – –