Former NFL GM hearing Jon Gruden’s name brought up in possible Buccaneers vacancy

Former NFL GM hearing Jon Gruden’s name brought up in possible Buccaneers vacancy

If a football season happens without Jon Gruden rumors popping up around the NFL, did football season really happen? We’ll never know, because Jon Gruden rumors — perhaps you prefer Grumors? — will never actually end. Football and the planet Earth will be long gone and Gruden and his agent will just be floating in space, telling some aliens about Gruden’s interest in being president of Mars. 

The latest Grumor is a juicy one, though, as it involves Gruden not only becoming a head coach somewhere again, but becoming a head coach of a team he already coached. Yes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that is quickly melting down into a pile of dysfunction, could be looking for a new head coach.

Tampa recently decided to shut down its franchise quarterback Jameis Winston for “a couple of weeks” (it was the smart move, but it reeks of “if we lose these next two games, Jameis is sitting the rest of the season,” which would also be smart) thanks to an AC joint injury. Winston is going to see Dr. James Andrews, which is the worst six words in sports. Mike Evans is suspended this week after tackling a Saints player for being upset that an injured Winston came off the sideline to taunt him. Evans is sorry about it, but the big red flag was coach Dirk Koetter strolling along the sideline as a fracas unfolded at his feet. 

According to former NFL executive Mike Lombardi, now with The Ringer, things could get uglier. Lombardi relayed on The Ringer NFL Show that he hears the Bucs have “quit” already. 

“Saturday afternoon I hear from somebody in the league and they say ‘You went with the Bucs? Really? The Bucs — everybody in the league knows they quit.’ Why didn’t somebody tell me that beforehand?” Lombardi recalled. “I thought they had a chance to rally.”

Later in the podcast, Lombardi pointed out (correctly) that the Buccaneers have not been shy about firing people in the past, and that he believes current coach Dirk Koetter will be fired. It is not a stretch if things continue on their current path and Lombardi said he got “two phone calls” from people saying the Gruden chatter is heating up.

“Look, the Glazers have fired people — they fired Jon Gruden who won a Super Bowl for them, they fired Tony Dungy, alright, they fired Greg Schiano after two years. They’re going to fire Dirk Koetter,” Lombardi said. “They fired Raheem Morris. One thing you know as an executive, when it’s going south, it’s south — it’s south in Tampa. I know they play the Jets this week, but there’s no turning this thing around. Ryan Fitzpatrick playing his old team? Come on.

“I thought they really were poorly coached in terms of their execution. It was bad. To me, you’re going to hear the Jon Gruden talk, because it’s heating up. I had two phone calls from two people in the league who said ‘Wait and see this happen.'”

Now, again, it is not uncommon to hear Jon Gruden rumors. They spring up every year. We have literally been writing about them since before Lovie Smith, who was fired and replaced by Koetter, was hired back in 2013.

“The Jon Gruden rumors always hang around all the time. But I think this one’s real. I think the Glazers have made up with him and they need a coach,” Lombardi explained. “I think if you look at the landscape of the NFL, there’s not a lot of great coaches in the league, let’s just be real honest here. I think he comes back — if you’re the Glazers they’re going to do what it takes to get somebody in there who can take over. Because they have just too much invested in this team.”

Gruden briefly caused a stir this offseason when he noted that he is always preparing himself to come back and coach in the NFL, but he quickly quashed any rumors by saying he simply does that as a way of preparing so as to not lose his edge. He has claimed repeatedly, usually with an extension from ESPN in hand, that he does not want to coach.

We could have an entire section of this site dedicated to Gruden chatter (CBSSports.com/Grumors, why not?). No one’s going to believe he’s actually back until he’s really back. But if the Buccaneers have another opening and have a franchise quarterback and the pieces in place and Gruden sees this as his last opportunity to make a run in the NFL, well, you never know. 

Source: https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/former-nfl-gm-hearing-jon-grudens-name-brought-up-in-possible-buccaneers-vacancy/

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