Along with the very specific report from Howard Eskin of WIP that former Raiders and Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden could be the next coach of the Eagles has come multiple more general reports that suggest Gruden is preparing a return to the NFL.
Charlie Campbell, who used to cover Gruden’s Bucs with PewterReport.com has reported that Gruden is exploring the availability of various assistant coaches, with Bucs special-teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia and former Eagles assitant Juan Castillo possibly on the list. Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com hasn’t named names, but he says that league sources are saying that Gruden is asking some folks the hypothetical question of whether they’d join him if he returns.
Accurate or not, these rumors will have a significant potential impact on Gruden’s current job. With so many possible vacancies coming in January and with Gruden skillfully positioning himself while in the broadcast booth to offend no potential employers, nearly every current head coach would have to regard Gruden as a looming competitor in that coach’s division, as soon as January.
So how inviting will those coaches be when the time comes to share information or players or anything with Gruden during a Monday Night Football production meeting? Answer: Not very.
This dynamics likely requires Gruden to make it known now that he won’t be returning in 2013, if he intends to remain in broadcasting for another year. If current NFL coaches think Gruden is coming back in 2013, things could get interesting during the final weeks of this year’s edition of Monday Night Football.
Or maybe he could just take a page from the Nick Saban playbook and deny vehemently a return to coaching — and then return to coaching. To sell that one properly, it could be time for yet another announcement that Gruden’s “exclusive” contract has been extended.