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Jon Gruden says he’s preparing to coach again, but will he ever?

New Orleans Saints  v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 30: Coach Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers directs play against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on November 30, 2008 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

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The folks at are characterizing former Buccaneers and Raiders coach Jon Gruden as saying he wants to return to coaching. The quote they’re supplying, however, doesn’t quite have that degree of clarity.

“I’ve met with several people -- I won’t deny that,” Gruden said in a 40-minute interview with “Just about every year I talk about coming back to coach. I’m not in here every day at 4:30 or 4:00 in the morning watching pinball, you know? I’m preparing myself to come back. I am. Every day. I’m preparing to come back.”

Preparing to come back and wanting to come back are two different things. It could be that Gruden has the mindset of preparing to come back in order to help him be as good as he can be in the job he has.

“It helps me in my broadcasting and I think if you lose that edge . . . you can’t come back unless you are totally wired with college football, personnel, schemes, the CBA, how people are practicing, trends, you know?” Gruden said. “You’ve got stay on top of this stuff.”

Gruden has never shown a serious desire to coach in the eight years and counting since he became the founding member of the Fired Football Coaches Association. And, frankly, teams haven’t been banging down Gruden’s door in recent years. While all it takes is one to change that, in recent years the number has been zero.

Of course, this interview could be Gruden’s first step in getting the word out that 2018 will be the year of his return. If it is, he’ll be giving up a spot on Monday Night Football that likely won’t be kept warm for him by ESPN.

Then again, by the time Gruden is out of coaching again, there’s a good chance ESPN will no longer have Monday Night Football. So maybe he’s thinking about getting out before he potentially becomes the founding member of the Fired Football Broadcasters Association.