Jon Gruden won’t say what many others will, that he’s expected to be the next Raiders head coach. ESPN’s top NFL color analyst, maybe just for one more week, didn’t offer bold predictions Wednesday on his employer’s national morning radio show.
He did concede, however, that odds are great he’ll coach a Raiders team he led from 1998-2001.
“There’s a good chance,” Gruden 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. I don’t know what’s going to happen.
“It’s been a long couple weeks. I know they’re going through their process of interviewing candidates. Until they’re done I don’t know, but I did have a good meeting with (Raiders owner Mark Davis). I’ve known Mark a long time and have a lot of respect for the Raiders football organization.”
The Raiders plan to interview other people for a head coaching vacancy created after Davis fired Jack Del Rio after Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. They also plan to comply with the Rooney Rule, which states NFL teams must interview at least one minority candidate for head coach or general manager position.
Rumors about salary and pay structure have circulated since ESPN reported the Raiders were coming strong for Gruden and formed an offer tempting enough to draw him out of the broadcast booth. His last NFL coaching gig was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, from 2002-08.
An extremely high salary seems like a given, but an ownership stake was also reported to be part of the compensation package. Gruden shot that one down in no uncertain terms.
“There’s no validity to that at all,” Gruden said. “None. Zero. No ownership, that’s for sure.”
Many media outlets, including this publication, have reported that Gruden is expected to get the job. An official announcement could come next week, after he has called Saturday’s AFC playoff game between Kansas City and Tennessee.
Gruden didn’t word things so strong. The hire, Gruden says, isn’t set in stone yet.
“That’s up to Mark Davis,” Gruden said. “I have had conversations with Mark, and they’re still, I believe, going through the interview process. When he knows, I think we’ll all know.”