Jon Gruden knew it was time to return when he joined Ring of Honor in Tampa

AP

For years, Raiders coach Jon Gruden seemed destined to return to coaching. So how did he know now was the time to return?

“You know, we had an event, Mike, in Tampa,” Gruden said during a recent visit to PFT Live. “We had a Monday night game in Tampa, and there was a Ring of Honor event that I was a part of down on the field, and I got to be around 60 or 70 of my ex-players in Tampa. It just hit me like a brick. I just missed being around those guys, I missed being around that coaching environment, and I got all choked up emotionally. I remember driving home that night thinking, ‘I gotta get back on the field, I just wanna be a part of a team again, and see if I can help somebody. So I think that was the signature moment for me really.”

Of course, he chose not to re-join the Buccaneers but to return to the Raiders, and the fact that the Raiders would soon be leaving Oakland was a factor for him.

“It really was,” Gruden said, “it really was. I love football, you know me, the one thing no one has argued about with me is I love football, love the NFL, and I’m really emotional about that. These people in Oakland, they supported me as an unknown nobody. When I was 34 years old they got behind me, they got behind the Raider football team, and they helped me. And I feel the urgency to come back here and do everything within my power to try to deliver the best possible football for them for the next two years before they move to Vegas. It was very important.”

Those nine years in broadcasting has helped his return to coaching in ways he wouldn’t have realized.

“I remember when I was a coach for the Raiders in 1998,” Gruden said. “I was always wondering what was Marty Schottenheimer doing on the practice field. I wonder what their weight room looks like. I wonder what their practice facility’s like. I wonder what’s going on in Kansas City. And over the last several years I’ve had a chance to sit down and talk to the head coach, see their training rooms, see their facilities, watch them practice. So it has made me certainly a lot more well-rounded. I’ve had a chance to see things I never got to see before when I was a head coach.”

Gruden now gets to use those things in an effort to take the Raiders back to the Super Bowl, for the first time since they faced Gruden and the Bucs 15 years ago.

19 responses to “Jon Gruden knew it was time to return when he joined Ring of Honor in Tampa

  1. the past few years Jon got to watch the Raiders slowly build something that has great potential while the other team meanders in mediocrity for years 1 horrific decision after the other and still the same ole product just different faces.. Can’t blame him for not wanting to get involved with the task of cleaning up years of bad hires and even worse drafts…

  2. Gruden seems like a genuinely good dude. His desire to return to coaching is totally understandable. Almost anyone who has ever coached misses the interaction with the players and the thrill of competition.

    Good luck Coach. May this return be everything that you hope it will be.

  3. It’s almost like he talks as if the Raiders will be moving to Vegas without him. It’s always “when they move” or “before they move”

  4. I’m a huge Bucs fan and John was a great motivator….his style worked well in the beginning but after a few years it just wore off down in Tampa. I hope he’s learned how to be consistent with his enthusiasm & his coaching skills. We’ll see.

  5. Is the owner still named Davis? Then this season will end the same as the last 13….

    I would wish Gruden good luck, but you know, I am a Chiefs fan and that would seem counter intuitive. Any team outside of the AFC West and I would wish him well. LOL

    However, I think he will be a victim of that huge contract and the aforementioned King of the Dumpster Fire, Son of Al.

    If Gruden does not turn the team completely around in a year or two, Davis will look at all the money he is paying Gruden and do what he always does, make a knee jerk decision and fire him. You do not go through 9 coaches in 13 years because you stay the course and give your coach time to succeed.

    Look at their last coach Jack Del Rio. He took over a 3-13 time and improved to 7-9 the next year, then improved the next year to 12-4, then when he has one off season …FIRED.

    First bad season and Coach Gruden will become Ex-coach Gruden.

  6. I will root for Chucky whenever he’s not playing the Bucs. Seriously, I will.

    It hurts my heart he’s not coaching in Tampa. But again, from what little we know anyway, it appears the Glazers made the right move.

  7. Gruden has always been great at selling himself. Whether Gruden does better on the field in his 2nd stint as Raider HC (after a 9 year break from being a HC) than Art Shell did in his 2nd stint (after an 11 year break) remains to be seen. I still feel the Raiders would’ve been better off keeping Del Rio. And if Lynch returns for another year then I have next to no hope for the 2018 Raiders.

  8. jonathankrobinson424 says:
    January 19, 2018 at 7:52 am
    I’m a huge Bucs fan and John was a great motivator….his style worked well in the beginning but after a few years it just wore off down in Tampa. I hope he’s learned how to be consistent with his enthusiasm & his coaching skills. We’ll see.

    My thoughts exactly. I remember the Superbowl win and then the steady decline in the team afterwards. I am a huge Gruden fan. But when they fired him I was all for it. I was kind of hopeing he would return to Tampa but I’m also relieved he didnt…lol

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