Jay Gruden doesn’t know whether Jon will coach again

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Jon Gruden wants to coach again. Unless he doesn’t.

The situation is enough to confuse anyone, including Jon’s immediate family.

Washington coach Jay Gruden made it clear on Thursday that, when it comes to Jon coming back, nothing is clear.

“It wouldn’t shock me, no [if he returns],” Jay Gruden told reporters. “I don’t know why he would want to do that, he’s got a pretty good job. But I think Jon’s got a passion for the game. There’s no doubt about it, the way he talks and the way he prepares for the job that he has is second-to-none. He loves coaching, he loves preparing, and it shows in the job that he does. He does a great job. I don’t know if he’ll come back or not. That’s a tough one.”

With Jon Gruden creating the impression he’s ready to return a week ago and then dialing it back this week, it’s not tough to see what he’s really doing. His name has been mentioned fewer and fewer times for vacancies. But putting his name out there early in the 2017 season, his name is more likely to come up when the media begins compiling the names of potential coaching candidates.

It doesn’t mean he wants to come back. But it does mean that he wants to be wanted.

Early in his time with ESPN, it seems like his name came up every year in connection with a job, which would be inevitably followed by an extension of his deal with ESPN. With no one paying serious attention to him as a coaching candidate, that won’t happen.

So, yes, he wants to be wanted, even if he never wants any of the jobs that may be offered to him.