Jon Gruden hasn’t coached in the NFL since 2008, but to say he’s been out of the game for almost a decade is a bit of a misnomer.
“He actually hasn’t been out of the game. He’s probably been more in the game now as an analyst than he ever was as a coach,” NFL analyst Ronde Barber said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “When you’re a head coach of a team, you pay attention to the league, but you’re not all-encompassing. I don’tknow if anyone works harder than Jon Gruden following the game. He is looking at thousands and thousands of prospects every year. The guy studies football. He probably has more time to study it now that when he was a head coach. So to say that he’s been out of it, I think, is a complete mischaracterization of what Jon Gruden has been doing for the last nine years.”
There is speculation that Gruden, 53, could eventually return to the NFL – and Gruden hasn’t denied that. He said he talks “just about every year” of returning to an NFL sideline and said he prepares for his return “every day.”
Thus, it seems Gruden will likely return to the NFL, no?
Maybe, maybe not.
“I’ll say this: Do I think Jon Gruden’s going back to football? Heck no,” said Barber, who played for Gruden from 2002-08. “No way. I this he has a great job doing what he’s doing now, and everybody loves him. Yes, there’s a generational divide, but Jon is still a young man. He’s healthy, he’s happy, he loves football – that’s part of his life that’s never going to change. If somebody threw the right gig at him and he went on a whim or got pissed off at ESPN or just got sick of doing what he’s going, I could see him wanting to come back. But I just don’t think it’ll happen.”