Jon Gruden is back. He has broken his nine-year exile in broadcasting to become the highest-paid coach in NFL history. Gruden left the Oakland Raiders in 2002 when the Raiders’ “notoriously hands-on owner” shipped the coach to Tampa Bay for two first- and two second-round draft choices. Gruden then became the face of Monday Night Football and was the host of the quirky-compelling QB Camp show. For years, anytime a big NFL job opened, Gruden’s name was floated. And he did seriously consider a previous Oakland offer, but ESPN jacked up his salary with a seven-year extension. But Gruden has a lot of appeal, besides just skill and experience, including that he can excite the base and engage casual fans. Gruden told Sports Illustrated that he liked the ESPN gig, he appreciated being home for his three boys’ high school years and loved spending days surrounded by hundreds of miles of tape. But after years, the house got emptier, and Gruden realized, if he could get a job, he was going to head back in. “And now [in Oakland] we’ve got a young quarterback signed for a long time. I owe it to myself to give it one more shot,” he told SI.
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