The Oakland Raiders will pursue Jon Gruden, the former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst, with an offer to return to coaching that may even include ownership in the team, said several media reports on Saturday.
Sources says Gruden is going to be tempted by the offer, but would rather not make any final decision until the final week of the regular season concludes Sunday and Oakland makes its final decision on Jack Del Rio, its current head coach, who last summer signed a new contract extension.
However, Oakland is an appealing opportunity for Gruden, for several reasons. First, he would be returning to an NFL organization that in 2001 he did not want to leave. Secondly, he would be inheriting a young, dynamic quarterback in Derek Carr and he gets to be the coach of a franchise headed to Las Vegas in 2020.
Mark Davis the owner of the Raiders has offered a stake in the team to Gruden in the past, said sources, and if that were to be offered again by Davis, Gruden’s contract would need to be approved by the NFL owners.
One insider said the NFL owners may not be quick to give their approval of such a deal, because of not wanting to establish a precedent.
Other complications exist as well. Gruden is represented by the same agent, Bob LaMonte, as Del Rio, which leads to several delicate situations.
Even though Gruden has been hesitate in the past to return to coaching, he will have enough power within the organization that he can reshape the entire front office and coaching staff, though some holdovers still remain from his first time coaching the team.
When asked, Gruden would not comment specifically about the Oakland Raiders, saying he would rather not speculate because there is not any news at this time to report.
Another NFL source close to this situation said Oakland’s owner has always held a high regard for Gruden dating back to when Gruden coached the team between 1998 and 2001 until long after Davis’ father Al made a trade with Tampa Bay that included Gruden.
Sources have said Gruden has made calls to coaches around the NFL in an attempt to put together his staff, although he has done the same in prior years but never followed through with an of the different opportunities that were presented to him. However, the opportunity that is reportedly presenting itself might be too good to pass up.