A whole cavalcade of “Jon Gruden returns to coaching” rumors haven’t panned out over the years, including the recent discussion of him likely taking over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (who kept Dirk Koetter instead), but Gruden’s ESPN colleague Adam Schefter is going to get very, very cold-taked if this last one doesn’t pan out.
With the Oakland Raiders firing Jack Del Rio Sunday evening, many presumed that meant they were set to bring in Gruden, especially given Saturday’s reports that the team was preparing an offer to Gruden that could even include an ownership stake. Schefter went above and beyond that in an appearance on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt, though, emphatically stating “Jon Gruden is going to be the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders”:
“It’s simple, you don’t make that move with Jack Del Rio unless you know you can get Jon Gruden. Jon Gruden is going to be the next coach of the Oakland Raiders. The only question is when it happens.”
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 1, 2018
It does look like there’s a lot more to go on here than with many Gruden rumors over the years, especially given Gruden’s “I’m preparing to come back” comments this summer and the report last week about him assembling assistants for a NFL coaching staff. And other reports have added fuel to the fire, including Manish Mehta reporting in the New York Daily News that Gruden is “expected to be interested in hiring [New York Jets’] offensive coordinator John Morton if/when he gets the Oakland Raiders job.”
With that and other potential staffing reports already out there (including the possibility of Gruden’s former QB in his last stint in Oakland, current CBS broadcaster Rich Gannon, joining the staff), Gruden to the Raiders is looking more and more certain all the time. But “is going to be the next coach of the Oakland Raiders” still feels like a significant leap given that Gruden hasn’t officially signed.
Will this move go through where other Gruden rumors have fallen? We’ll find out. If it does, it will be interesting to see if Gruden takes over with Raiders ahead of next week’s ESPN playoff broadcast of the Titans and Chiefs. And if that happens, it will be interesting to see who ESPN replaces him with on that broadcast.
But if this move doesn’t pan out, there are going to be a whole lot of people mocking Schefter for this bold declaration. Will it be another failed Grumor, or a correct prediction? We’ll have to wait and see.
[SportsCenter on Twitter]