Raiders Preparing To Make 'Strong Offer' To Jon Gruden

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McDonald followed up with Gruden via a phone call shortly after ESPN dropped the bombshell Saturday night, and Gruden's response was equally as coy as Davis'.

That connection alone mandates the application of skepticism to any aspect of the report that seems self-serving to Gruden, including the eye-rolling notion that he prefers to wait to make a decision until after the regular season ends and the Raiders decide whether to keep coach Jack Del Rio.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Gruden has reached out to potential assistant coaches in recent weeks.

Gruden led the Bucs to the 2002 Super Bowl, defeating the Raiders a season after he was traded from Oakland to Tampa Bay following the Bucs' decision to fire Tony Dungy. Not only is Del Rio the current man in charge, but he signed a contract extension to remain with the franchise last offseason. Rightfully so, as there hasn't been a sexier head coaching candidate in the last few years than Gruden - a Super Bowl victor with a throwback personality that fans gravitate towards.

Gruden has been an offered an ownership stake in the team as enticement, the report said.

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But it might be a different home that Gruden goes back to next season. And if Gruden does return to Oakland, he may be bringing another familiar face with him. The Raiders were a popular preseason pick to be a contender in the AFC, but have fallen to 6-9. This is as hot as the talks have been, but as each year passes it becomes less and less likely that a Gruden return to the National Football League will be anything other than a disappointing dose of nostalgia.

An ownership source said owners might not be so quick to approve the deal, because they wouldn't want to establish a precedent.

The Raiders could move on from Del Rio after Sunday's game against the division rival Los Angeles Chargers.

The ESPN analyst has been the most coveted coach in football for a number of years, and while many predicted he would return to the NFL in 2018, it was thought that he would go back home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After ranking top 10 offensively in points and yards last season, they are 23rd and 19th, respectively, this year.

Gruden will have not been in the professional coaching ranks in almost a full decade by the time next season rolls around.

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