(CBS SF) — The Oakland Raiders reportedly plan to introduce the team’s former head coach and current ESPN football analyst Jon Gruden as the new head coach early next week.
Raiders reporter and author Steve Corkran first reported on the Raiders’ plan for a “splashy” Tuesday news conference.
ESPN reporter Adam Schefter said the Raiders will sign Gruden to a 10-year deal likely approaching $100 million, the longest coaching deal in NFL history.
So far there has been no official confirmation from the team.
Gruden, who coached Oakland between 1998 to 2001, returns for a second stint replace Jack Del Rio, fired after the Raiders 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in the final regular-season game and a disappointing 6-10 record.
As head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gruden led the team to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII over the Raiders one season after being traded to Tampa Bay for draft picks and $8 million in cash.
Fans of the “Silver and Black” were enthusiastic about the news.
“A lot of excitement. It’s fun to see that fire and that energy that he brought the sideline,” said Raiders fan Timothy Evans.
“It was a mistake when Al traded him. It was the biggest mistake that Oakland made the first time,” lamented Raiders supporter Sant Ram.
Every Raiders fan KPIX 5 talked to Friday believes the team should improve under the new leadership. But even the most loyal Raiders fans were shocked by the amount the team will pay Gruden.
“Overpaid. 10 years is too much. Win a Super Bowl, then give him the $10 million,” said Richard Griffin Jr., a Raiders fan since 1971.
But many fans said Gruden will take the team to the next level: the playoffs and beyond.
“You have to pay the price for the best. You want the best? You have to pay the price,” said Ram.
Loyal East Bay fans also admitted that while they were excited about the hire, it is bittersweet given the team will leave Oakland in a couple of years.
“These are the Oakland Raiders. So you’re getting Gruden back, but we’re not getting him back. Las Vegas is getting him back,” said Griffin Jr.