It appears that the Oakland Raiders really want ESPN color commentator Jon Gruden to be back with their organization.
Gruden was the Raiders coach from 1998-2001. While he held the job, the Raiders never finished under .500, and made the playoffs during his final two seasons.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen are reporting that the Raiders want Gruden to come back so badly that they are willing to offer him part ownership of the franchise.
The Raiders do currently have a coach who received a contract extension last season. In 2016, Jack Del Rio led the Raiders back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 season, when they went to the Super Bowl and lost to Gruden’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Every offseason, there are always rumors that Gruden is going to return to coaching. However, no offer has been good enough to get him to leave the Monday Night Football broadcast — he is ESPN’s highest-paid employee.
Gruden did not directly comment on the report when he was quoted in the story.
“I don’t want to sit here and speculate. … There is no news to report,” Gruden said, according to Schefter and Mortensen. “I can’t say I haven’t taken any phone calls. I take a lot every year from coaches, some others. … Yeah, sometimes owners. Guys want to bounce ideas off me. I’m here to help people.”