Jon Gruden returned for a second stint with the Oakland Raiders as their head coach on Tuesday in an introductory news conference that can only be described as over the top.
Over 110 members of the media were present, along with between 45 and 50 former Raiders players that included nine members of the Hall of Fame such as Jim Otto, Tim Brown, Howie Long, Jerry Rice, Mike Haynes, Ted Hendricks, Dave Casper, James Lofton and Willie Brown.
After a video highlighting Gruden first tenure with the Raiders, he was introduced by Mark Davis the team owner who called it the biggest day of his life almost 20 years after his father; the late Al Davis first hired Gruden when Gruden was just a 34-year old with little experience.
Following four seasons with the Raiders, starting in 1998 and ending following the 2001 season, the Raiders traded Gruden to Tampa Bay for a pair of picks each in the first- and –second rounds and $8 million.
Davis Waited Six Years for Gruden
Davis claims to have dreamt about pairing Gruden and Reggie McKenzie, the team’s general manager since Davis took over in 2011 following the death of his father.
Davis told the crowd that it had been a dance that lasted six years as Gruden would never say yes, and would never say no.
Davis said four times during 2011 he was very close to having Gruden back but then Gruden each time would choose to stay with ESPN as an analyst for Monday Night Football.
Gruden Admits to Wanting to Return to Coaching
Gruden admitted that he likely deep down wanted to coach against but said he had wanted to spend more time with his family, as his sons were in school and he could coach them in high school and spend more time around them. However, Gruden added that the Raiders’ organization and Davis had a great deal to do with the reason he returned to coach.
He called the timing right and said it does not have to do with his contract since he just wanted to be a with the Raiders another time and wants to end his coaching career on the Raiders sideline, but cannot wait to start his second time with the team.
The NFL is a mean, unforgiving business and one day there is joy and celebration and the next misery. The big unknown is how long is the “second honeymoon” between Gruden and the Raiders’ front office going to last.
What do you think, can Gruden be as successful with the Raiders during his second stint as he was his first?