Briefs for December 31: Raiders fishing for Gruden

Report ESPN's Gruden will return to coach Raiders

Asked specifically if he was a candidate, Gruden said, "Well, I think I am being considered, yes". "I told him how much I appreciated the opportunity he gave me; very grateful, my childhood team".

As the Raiders cleaned out their lockers Monday, less than 24 hours after a 30-10 loss to the Chargers that capped a 6-10 season and preceded Del Rio's firing, players were caught between the still-fresh impact of Del Rio's departure and the possibility of Gruden's return to coaching.

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Speculation immediately focused on ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, who coached the team from 1998 to 2001, as the Raiders' next coach.

"(Del Rio) came here and changed the attitude of the whole program, the whole atmosphere", fullback Jamize Olawale said. Del Rio then had an awkward and emotional post game press conference with the media where he addressed his dismissal.




Gruden can not come out and say what's been widely reported - he is leaving ESPN for the Raiders job - but he did at least acknowledge the fact he is up for the job.

Still, Gruden has reportedly already started lining up a coaching staff.

Del Rio finished his three-year tenure in Oakland with a 25-23 record and one playoff appearance. In his first season in Tampa, Gruden got his revenge as he led the Bucs to a 12-4 regular season and crushed the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII, 48-21.

"Came to work with a smile every day, and definitely enjoyed playing for him, but it just sucks because he's the coach".

The Raiders had major drops in scoring (26 to 18.8), yards per game (373.3 to 324.1) and committed twice as many turnovers (14 to 28) this season as Carr took a major step back in his development after signing a $125 million, five-year extension in the offseason.

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