Ex-Raiders HC Jon Gruden Has Made Return to NFL: Report

jon gruden

Getty Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

There are few people who love football more than Jon Gruden. The former Las Vegas Raiders head coach has been involved with the sport for decades as a coach and media analyst but has been away from the game for over a year now. That was due to a number of emails getting leaked to The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times that featured racist, homophobic and misogynistic language that led to his resignation.

Gruden is now entangled in a lawsuit with the NFL that won’t help his chances of getting another head coaching job anytime soon. However, he’s still finding ways to be involved in football. According to Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune, Gruden has been invited by the New Orleans Saints to help develop their offense with new quarterback Derek Carr. Obviously, Gruden coached Carr for a little over three seasons with the Raiders. The two grew a close relationship and were starting to have some success before the coach resigned.

It’s unclear exactly what Gruden’s role is but Duncan noted that Saints coaches are picking “his brain about the offensive transition” with Carr taking over at quarterback. It sounds like the coach is merely a consultant right now but there aren’t many people who know Carr better than him. It makes sense for New Orleans to have him chime in but it remains to be seen if he’ll have a defined role with the team going forward.

Will Gruden Eventually Be a Full-Time Coach Again?

Helping out the Saints is a good way for Gruden to get his foot back in the door. He gets to work with a couple of players he’s familiar with without the pressure of having a full-time coaching job. Gruden has made a ton of money over his career and could easily retire comfortably if he’d like to. However, that’s not in his DNA.

Gruden is only 59 and there are plenty of coaches in the NFL currently who are much older than him. There’s a good chance he’ll try to make a comeback at some point. Now, that might not be in the NFL. While Gruden is a respected offensive mind, he was not successful in his second stint with the Raiders. Considering the baggage he would bring to a team, it’s hard to imagine many NFL teams would be lining up to hire him as a head coach. He could be a very good offensive coordinator for a team but he may not have interest in not being the man in charge.

College Could Be a Good Option for Gruden

It’s clear that Gruden still has an interest in coaching. Just last year, his agent Bob LaMonte told Ira Kaufman of JoeBucsFan that he expects him to be coaching again at some point. However, the NFL might not be the best place for Gruden. He has sued the league, which is something owners and commission Roger Goodell won’t take too kindly to. The Raiders are the one team that might be willing to bring him back if Josh McDaniels doesn’t work out.

Even then, college might be the better landing spot for Gruden. He’s an old-school coach, which works better in college than in the NFL these days. Gruden could be a middle-of-the-pack NFL coach or an elite college coach. He makes a lot of sense in the college ranks if he’s willing to make that transition.