It may be just a dream for the Raider Nation when they think back on the glory years of the Jon Gruden era, but the rumour of his return to the silver and black simply won’t lay down and die.
It was brought to life again in very public fashion by his appearance at Raiders rally at Ricky's Sports Bar in San Leandro (great place).
Now ask yourself a question, why would Jon Gruden be at Ricky’s for a Raider convention?
My answer is clear.
He wants to be a coach again, and he wants to coach the Oakland Raiders where he first won fame and glory. Yeah, he was in the bay area for the Monday night football game, but he didn't need to come to Oakland or go to Ricky's.
Jim Otto was at Ricky's too, and spoke to Gruden. It still unconfirmed, but Gruden reportedly told Otto he would return to Oakland if Al Davis asked him to. Now things really start to take off at rumour control.
Jon Gruden my have signed a deal with ESPN, and profess to like being a commentator on Monday night football, but that really isn’t his passion, and it isn’t his bag at all.
His passion is coaching, and he is looking for a way to return.
Despite winning a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers, it didn’t end well for him there.
But he is still loved in Oakland, as clearly demonstrated at Ricky's the other night where he was mobbed by fans.
Gruden has been very careful since he left not to trash the organisation as so many have.
He has had numerous opportunities to bad mouth them, and Al Davis too, but he never said anything but good things about the Raiders.
Because one day he knew, he might want to return.
About six weeks ago, before his new contract with ESPN, a source close to Gruden said that both Gruden and Bruce Allen would not be adverse to returning to the silver and black if he was asked to do so by Al Davis. That is now twice he has said that.
"Sources" close to people rarely say things that they haven’t been asked to say, and this all points to a careful and subtle campaign by Gruden to make a return to the Oakland possible at some point, and to hold out an olive branch to Al Davis.
All Al has to do is take it.
Some say the Gruden/Davis relationship can’t be rekindled—I disagree.
Davis admitted his mistake in firing Art Shell, and rehired him.
It proved to be a mistake, but showed that Al can change his mind if the time and the situation are right.
I honestly believe that the stage is set for return of Gruden to Oakland, and that it could happen not long after the end of the season.
Spare a thought though, if I am correct, for Tom Cable.
Cable is a decent guy who has given his all for the Raiders, and shown that without JaMarcus Russell, he could coach a winning team.
Cable will be the loser in all this if Chuckie returns.
If Gruden does return though, one thing is for sure, JaMarcus Russell is out of Oakland, faster than Jon Gruden can utter expletives.