ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Jon Gruden says he had a good talk with Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis about returning to the organization for a second stint as coach and believes there is a “good chance” it will happen.
Gruden gave an interview to ESPN Radio on Wednesday to discuss his pursuit of the Raiders job that opened when Jack Del Rio was fired after a disappointing six-win season.
“It’s been a long couple of weeks,” Gruden said. “I know they’ve gone through their process of interviewing candidates and until they’re done I won’t know. I did have a good meeting with Mark. I’ve known him a long time and got a lot of respect for the Raiders football organization.”
Gruden has been out of coaching the past nine years while serving as ESPN’s analyst for “Monday Night Football.” He is scheduled to work the network’s playoff game Saturday in Kansas City between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans and could come back to the Raiders as soon as next week.
“I think there’s a good chance,” he said. “I’m excited about where I’m at in terms of studying the game and preparing to come back and coach. I just don’t want to sit here and speculate.”
Gruden apparently is already trying to put together a staff. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said he expected defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to interview with Oakland “at some point.”
Gruden spent four seasons as coach in Oakland from 1998-2001. After leading the Raiders to 8-8 records his first two years, Gruden helped the team reach the AFC title game following the 2000 season and got Oakland back into the playoffs the following season.
His tenure ended shortly after the “Tuck Rule” loss to the New England Patriots when he was traded the following month to Tampa Bay for two first-round draft picks, two second-rounders and $8 million.
Gruden beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl in his first season with the Buccaneers but didn’t win another playoff game for Tampa Bay in his final six seasons. He has a 95-81 career record.
The Raiders will be required to comply with the “Rooney Rule” and interview at least one minority candidate or otherwise face discipline from the NFL. The team has not commented on the search and might have already conducted that interview.
Gruden dismissed speculation raised in a report by ESPN over the weekend that he would get an ownership stake as part of his contract.
This would not mark the first time the Raiders brought back a coach for a second stint. Late owner Al Davis hired Art Shell in 2006, 11 years after firing him the first time. Shell went 2-14 that season and was fired after one year.
Other teams have also done it, with one of the most recent notable ones being Joe Gibbs in Washington. Gibbs stepped away following the 1992 season with three Super Bowl titles in his career. He came back in 2004 and had a 30-34 record in four seasons, leading Washington to two playoff berths.