Jon Gruden on when he decided he’d never return to Bucs: ‘When I was fired’
New Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden cleared up on Wednesday there was no chance of a reunion with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization once he finally decided to return to the NFL coaching ranks.
Gruden, asked when he decided he would never return to the Bucs, broke out a phenomenal — not to mention brutally honest — line.
“When I was fired,” Gruden quipped at the NFL Scouting Combine, via the Tampa Bay Times.
Gruden was fired by the Buccaneers on Jan. 16, 2009 following a 9-7 season, six years after leading the Bucs to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII. He would then go into broadcasting, serving as analyst on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” until leaving after this past season.
Rumors surfaced as Gruden reportedly was contemplating a return to coaching in recent months that the Buccaneers could conceivably be an option. Gruden’s frank comment certainly seems to refute such speculation.
Further, perhaps to rub salt in the wounds of those who pined for a Gruden return in Tampa, the Raiders coach mentioned how the Bucs actually helped to reinvigorate his desire to coach.
Gruden was inducted into the Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony on Dec. 19, a game that was being broadcast on “Monday Night Football.”
“That kind of did push me over the top,” Gruden said. “I’d spent a lot of time with players and coaches around the country, and I’ve always had the urge to come back. But being on the field that night with Brad Johnson and (Derrick) Brooks and Ronde Barber, Joe Jurevicius, it did push me over the edge, and you only live once, so here I am.”
And the rest was history. Gruden ultimately signed a 10-year, $100 million deal to return to the Raiders, not the Bucs, who made the decision to bring back Dirk Koetter for a third season.