Not that long ago, Jon Gruden widely was believed to be a perennial A-list coaching candidate. His brother, Jay, was a career Arena League coach who spent some time with Jon’s Buccaneers thanks to a football tradition that dates back even farther than playing on Thanksgiving: nepotism.
Now, Jay has become a star. And Jon can’t get a sniff.
The kid brother, who has done well for himself in two seasons as the Bengals offensive coordinator, has attracted interest from the Cardinals, the Eagles, and the Chargers. Ian Rapaport of NFL Network now reports that Jay Gruden will interview for the head-coaching job in Jacksonville.
That’s an opportunity on which Jay Gruden passed in 2012.
So while Jay has said he wants to stay in Cincinnati, it looks like he’s more than willing to chase the opportunity to become a head coach.
Meanwhile, Jay’s big brother has made it clear that he’s ready to return, doing everything but publicly saying so. His ESPN colleague, Ron Jaworski, has declared that Jon Gruden is interested in coaching the Eagles, even though the Eagles have shown zero interest in even giving him a courtesy interview.
The difference could come from dollars. Jon Gruden likely wants top-of-the-market coaching money before he’ll give up top-of-the-market broadcasting money. Jay Gruden can be had at the entry-level rate of $3 million or so per year.
Then there’s the rumor/suspicion/speculation/whatever that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could be eyeballing Jon Gruden as the replacement for Jason Garrett. If that happens, Jones will be paying something a lot closer to the top of the market.
Until then, Jay Gruden is the belle of the ball. And Jon Gruden is waking up at 3:17 a.m. with no place to go.