Briefs for December 31: Raiders fishing for Gruden

Ross Houston
January 12, 2018

The Raiders do now have a coach who received a contract extension last season.

The Raiders have restricted their public comments to a statement to attributed to owner Mark Davis an hour after Del Rio's firing.

Gruden last coached in 2008 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has rejected overtures each year to return.

ESPN reported Saturday that the Raiders were interested in bringing Gruden back.

Sunday night, ESPN NFL Insider and scoop guru Adam Schefter had an interesting tidbit to pass along, telling ESPN's Scott Van Pelt on Sportscenter "Jon Gruden is going to be the next coach of the Oakland Raiders".

Asked by McDonald about the situation in Oakland, Gruden said he hears the Raiders are "interviewing candidates this week". I take a lot every year from coaches, some others.

The Raiders already fired Del Rio and Tuesday morning on WFAN, Boomer Esiason said that it's considered a "done deal". "Zero. That's a nice segment that I saw, but no ownership, that's for sure". "But I knew this team and this brotherhood, and I owed it to all my coaches and all my teammates". This team needs a shot in the arm in a big way, especially since it will soon be leaving Northern California for Las Vegas. "He's one of the rare people that I think has been away from the game but he's been as involved in the game as anybody, where he kind of is getting exposure, the ins and outs". It would open up a huge can of worms since future coaching hires would expect ownership clauses. Gruden shot down that report. The reason we identify Del Rio's dismissal as most notable is because of his reported replacement.

It seems certain that current Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is a dead man walking.

Gruden is also, interestingly, being linked to the Bucs should they have an opening at head coach, which is certainly a possibility. However, he's likely wore out his welcome with any future head coaching stints given his inability to win with what is perceived as a loaded chest of young talent in Oakland. Del Rio fired offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave earlier in the offseason, which would explain why quarterback Derek Carr looks like he's taken a step back as far as progression goes. Del Rio went 12-4 with the Raiders in 2016, ending a 14-year playoff drought, and signed a contract extension prior to the 2017 season. "As a player, we didnt play up to our expectations, and he had to pay the price".

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