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Why NFL Teams Should Pump the Brakes on Hiring Jon Gruden

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 08:  Head coach Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches during a game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 8, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIDecember 29, 2011

Jon Gruden apparently wants to get back into coaching in the NFL. While there has been a love-fest surrounding his potential return to the league as a head coach, people need to remember that Gruden isn't perfect and may even bring a lot of negative baggage with him.

Gruden certainly possesses a keen football mind and has a deep understanding of the West Coast offense. That said, while he may be a fantastic X's and O's guy, he has never been great at dealing with players on a personal level.

In 2009, Michael Lombardi discussed Gruden's personality and his dealings with players. The 48-year-old Ohio native was apparently never happy with his players—specifically his quarterbacks—and is often adversarial with them. Gruden also supposedly "wants new" a lot, but "when new is over, he wants more." 

From that quote, I take that Gruden isn't a fan of player development and wants guys to be up to speed as soon as they step on the field. 

One of Gruden's former players, receiver Michael Clayton, echoed that sentiment by saying that things were far too inconsistent in Tampa Bay, which made it extremely difficult to build a championship. Clayton also claimed Gruden didn't treat people fairly. 

This is not to take away from the former Bucs and Raiders coach's mind. He clearly knows football and studies the game as much as anyone. I'm sure if he decides to come back to the NFL this offseason, several teams will throw a ton of dough at him in hopes of bringing him on board.

But while everyone is lauding Gruden and hoping their team snaps him up, we should probably more deeply examine the actual evidence instead of paying attention to the legend that has built up around him.

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