A month after he won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, over his old and now new team, the Oakland Raiders, Jon Gruden was asked what it was like to climb the game’s highest mountain.
Gruden – who is always aware he is on stage – admitted that after winning it all, the urge to go soft seeps in. The truly hilarious Gruden joked about wanting to take the Lombardi Trophy and go “float down the river” while drinking beer and listening to Jimmy Buffet.
Yet, Gruden then noted that the competitive juices will never go away.
Gruden is now returning to the sideline nine years after being fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’d had his full of floating down the river. Someone close to Gruden told me in 2015, the last time Raiders’ owner Mark Davis made a run at him, this about Gruden: “You know the saying, ‘Living the dream?’ Well, Jon truly is living the dream. He doesn’t work much. He makes a ton of money and he golfs and goes to the beach all the time. Why would he come back?”
Now, after agreeing to a 10-year, $100 million contract with the Raiders, Gruden is back.
But don’t worry, don’t expect him to be soft or floating down any rivers anytime soon.
He will be all in. Gruden is too passionate and too intense to come back just because. He is returning because he is ready.
Yes, there will be questions whether he can handle the rigors of the game after a nine-year layoff. And there is no doubt that is along time away from the sidelines and the pressure cooker of a being a head coach. And no coach in sports will have more pressure than the $100 Million Man.
But Gruden can handle it. He’s been preparing for this. He has been studying tape more than just preparing for his broadcasting gig. Gruden doesn’t need this challenge. He wants this challenge.
The truth is, Gruden could not make another dollar for the rest of his life and his kid’s kids would be set for life. Gruden is coming back to coaching because he loves it and he wants it.
Gruden has too much pride to come back to the Raiders just for a change of pace. He is coming back to excel, to teach, to win. The Raiders’ labeled their story of Gruden officially coming back as ‘unfinished business.”
That’s what this is. This is a publicity stunt. This is business.
Jon Gruden is back and expect him to be fully committed to winning as a Raider.
That starts Tuesday at noon at his press conference. I fully expect Gruden to be his passionate self during the coronation dressed as a presser. Gruden will be in full Chucky mode. He will snarl, he will grunt, and he be everything that Jon Gruden the NFL head coach is.
Then, he will leave, pop in game film work until 11 p.m. Then. He will set his alarm for 3:17 a.m. and do it all over again.