Dick Vermeil was 46 years old when he retired as the coach of the Eagles and went into broadcasting, and then coached the Rams when he was in his 60s and won a Super Bowl. Vermeil thinks Jon Gruden may do the same thing.
Vermeil said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he believes Gruden, who left coaching at age 45 and is now the commentator on Monday Night Football, may eventually come back and succeed as a coach, just as Vermeil did in St. Louis.
“No question, he’s a hell of a lot better coach than I am, and a lot smarter,” Vermeil said of Gruden. “I think he would be very successful. I hope he does come back, because I like him a lot.”
Vermeil said that coaches often regret walking away — and Vermeil himself regretted it when he retired from the Rams after winning Super Bowl XXXIV. Vermeil said he foolishly left the Rams because he wanted to spend time with his family and didn’t want to cut some of the aging veterans he had grown fond of. In hindsight, all he needed was a vacation.
“Poor decision — I made a mistake,” Vermeil said of leaving the Rams. “My family wanted me home and I was tired and I didn’t want to cut the squad and go into free agency and I thought at my age, to go out a champion was a great opportunity.”
Fortunately for Vermeil, he got a third shot in coaching when the Chiefs came calling a year later. Gruden may get another shot in coaching too. And he may find just as much success as Vermeil did.