ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Jon Gruden says he had a good talk with Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis about returning to the organization for a second stint as coach and believes there is a “good chance” it will happen.
Gruden gave an interview to ESPN Radio on Wednesday to discuss his pursuit of the Raiders job that opened when Jack Del Rio was fired after a disappointing six-win season.
“I think there is a good chance,” Gruden told ESPN host Mike Golic. “I’m excited about where I am in terms of studying the game and preparing to come back and coach. I just don’t want to sit here and speculate. It’s almost like — I don’t know what’s going to happen. I got to be honest with you. It’s been a long couple weeks.”
The Raiders are not commenting on the search beyond a statement issued Sunday night from owner Mark Davis thanking Del Rio for his tenure.
Gruden spent four seasons as coach in Oakland from 1998-2001. After leading the Raiders to 8-8 records his first two years, Gruden helped the team reach the AFC title game following the 2000 season and got Oakland back into the playoffs the following season.
Gruden’s tenure ended shortly after the “Tuck Rule” loss to the New England Patriots when he was traded the following month to Tampa Bay for two first-round draft picks, two second-rounders and $8 million.
Gruden beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl in his first season with the Buccaneers but didn’t win another playoff game for Tampa Bay in his final six seasons. He has a 95-81 career record.
Gruden has spent the past nine seasons working as an announcer for ESPN and is scheduled to work the playoff game Saturday in Kansas City between the Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. ESPN first reported the likelihood of Gruden returning to Oakland on the eve of the season finale that Oakland lost.
Del Rio was fired following the 30-10 defeat to the Chargers, leading to the current search.
The Raiders will be required to comply with the “Rooney Rule” and interview at least one minority candidate or otherwise face discipline from the NFL.