Raiders Didn't Violate Rooney Rule Amid Jon Gruden Rumors, NFL Spokesman Says

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2018

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Former head coach of the Oakland Raiders and now ESPN Monday Night Football Analyst Jon Gruden looks on during pre-game warm ups before an NFL football game between the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on November 18, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Despite rumors heavily pointing toward Jon Gruden becoming the Oakland Raiders' next head coach, an NFL spokesman said Friday that the organization hasn't violated the Rooney Rule.

According to Mike Jones of USA Today, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said "the league believes the Raiders have complied with the Rooney Rule," although he couldn't say when interviews with minority candidates took place.

The Rooney Rules requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching vacancies.

Per ESPN's Jim Trotter, the Raiders complied by interviewing tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and "an unidentified college coach" earlier this week.

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Paul Gutierrez reported Monday that the Raiders are expected to make Gruden their next head coach following the firing of Jack Del Rio.

Appearing on ESPN's Golic and Wingo (h/t Ryan Wilson of CBSSports.com) on Wednesday, Gruden confirmed he has spoken with Raiders owner Mark Davis regarding the opening and added, "I think there's a good chance," when asked about whether he would accept the job.

The 54-year-old Gruden spent four seasons as Oakland's head coach from 1998 through 2001 before getting traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He went 38-26 with the Raiders, making two playoff appearances, before posting a 57-55 record in Tampa.

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With the Bucs, Gruden made the playoffs on three occasions and won a Super Bowl over the Raiders in his first year.

Gruden has worked as a color commentator for ESPN's Monday Night Football telecast since 2009, and he hasn't coached in an NFL game since 2008.