Jon Gruden's Ohio Roots Could Land Him in Cleveland

Kim LaknerCorrespondent INovember 10, 2009

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 28: Coach Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers directs play against the Oakland Raiders at Raymond James Stadium on December 28, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The former coach also known as “Chucky” appears to be content in the Monday Night Football broadcast booth.


Then again, money talks, it always does.


Ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden is one of many former coaches who could get back into the game within the next few years. Tony Dungy, Mike Shanahan, and Bill Cowher are other names currently out of coaching jobs.


The one-time Super Bowl champion and Sandusky, an Ohio native, grew up a Cleveland Browns fan. He and Mike Holmgren have a history that goes back to 1990, when he hired Gruden as one of the first quality control coaches in the NFL. At the time, Holmgren was the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers.


Holmgren eventually moved onto Green Bay where he became the Packers head coach and he wanted Gruden to join him and take over a wide receiver coaching position.


Gruden then went on to become the Eagles' offensive coordinator in 1995 and to Oakland for his first head coaching gig. His first and only Super Bowl victory came in 2002 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against his old team, the Raiders.


With all the speculation of Browns owner Randy Lerner being hot after Holmgren to run his football team, the possibilities are endless. If Holmgren does decide to become the Browns’ Director of Football Operations, Gruden could be his first choice as head coach.


One common denominator with both of these individuals are they are proven winners and have experience and success working in the positions that they would be assigned in Cleveland.


Holmgren was the general manager and head coach in Seattle and posted seven winning seasons in 10 years. He brought in a backup quarterback from Green Bay by the name of Matt Hasselbeck, and when healthy, he is a Pro-Bowl caliber player.


He drafted players such as linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill, cornerback Marcus Trufant, and tight end John Carlson.


One knock on Gruden is his inability or unwillingness to develop young quarterbacks. He signed Rich Gannon from the Kansas City Chiefs when he was head coach in Oakland.


When he took the Bucs' head coaching position, he signed Brad Johnson to a lucrative contract, but ended up winning a Super Bowl with him. He later brought in Jeff Garcia in 2007 and was reportedly very close to signing Brett Favre last season before he went to the New York Jets.


However, his defenses are solid and that’s something that has lacked in Cleveland.


Coaching players such as Rod Woodson, Charles Woodson, Sam Adams, Derrick Brooks, Simeon Rice, and John Lynch would give Gruden instant credibility and he, unlike Eric Mangini, has proven he can handle high profile, “loud” players like a Keyshawn Johnson and Bill Romanowski.


Randy Lerner has struck out twice with his head coach and general manager selections. Maybe the third time will be a charm. Bringing in Holmgren and Gruden would put him on the right track.