Friday, January 19, 2018
  • Bucs Beat
  • Rick Stroud and Greg Auman

Former Bucs coach Jon Gruden: “I never wanted to leave the Raiders”

Saying he never wanted to be traded from the Oakland Raiders to Tampa Bay in the first place, Jon Gruden returned as the head coach of the Silver and Black, nearly 20 years to the day after he was hired there the first time.

"Obviously, this is every emotional for me,'' Gruden said during an introductory press conference that was attended by 50 former Raiders players. "I never wanted to leave the Raiders.  I never thought I'd be back. But here I am and I'm ready to get to work.''

Gruden, 54,was traded in 2002 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by late Raiders owner Al Davis, who fetched two first-round  picks, two second-round picks and $8-million for the charismatic young coach.

In his first season in Tampa Bay, Gruden led the Bucs to a win in Super Bowl XXXVII over the same Raiders team he had just left behind.

Gruden said two of his former Bucs assistants will join in Oakland as coordinators: Rich Bisaccia will run the specials teams and Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson will be the offensive coordinator. But Gruden said he will still be the offensive play-caller.

Gruden made it clear he still had an emotional attachment to the Raiders and to their brand.

"I just want to say there's really four major reasons why I'm here coaching today,'' Gruden said. "Number one, I love football. I love the players that play it, I love the preparation, I love the journey. Love football. And I love the city of Oakland. I had a son here. Some of my great memories in life are in Oakland. And I want to give them two of the best years of football that I can possibly help deliver.

"And I love the Raiders. The brand is global. Everywhere I went as a Monday Night Football analyst, the Raider nation would come out of the ground. I love the Raiders. And most of all, I love to win and I'm going to do everything I can. No guarantees, no promises. But I want to win.''

Raiders principle owner Mark Davis called it "the biggest day of his life,'' and said he had pursued Gruden every year since he left coaching to join ESPN in 2009.

The Raiders are scheduled to begin play in a new stadium in Las Vegas in 2020.

Gruden reportedly agreed to a 10-year contract that will pay him $10-million per season to coach the Raiders.

Gruden said he has kept up on all the changes in the NFL since he last coached in the league in 2008.

"Look, what has changed is the collective bargaining agreement as changed the way we practice, the way we conduct ourselves in the off-season," Gruden said. "Obviously, the rules have changed. Player safety has now emerged as a critical part of the game. I've paid very close attention to it.

"I have a lot to prove. There's no question. I have not coached since 2008. I haven't won a game since 2008. I haven't lost any either, so I just want to keep that in perspective. I've got to hire a great coaching staff. That's been the No. 1 criteria I've tried to bring every place I've been as a head coach. It's about the people, it's about the staff, it's about the tempo that we establish as a coaching staff. With that said, I've got a lot to prove, I know that. But the game is still is decided by players between the lines and we all have to adapt every year."

Gruden said he had a rare opportunity to see the game from a different perspective as a broadcaster and had access to every team and training facility. That information, he said, should help him this time around.

"Look, I've gotten to see every facility in the league," Gruden said. "I've had a chance to watch them practice, see how they conduct training camps. I've had a chance to learn some things and see some things that I would've never gotten a chance to see as a coach and have had a chance to study different offenses, different defenses, and I've had a chance to get into personnel more. So I think I'm more big picture now than I was in the past. But I still want to be very detailed in the way we play offense, I still want to be very involved in how we move the football. But I have had some opportunities that are unique and I think beneficial as a broadcaster."

One of the attractions to the Raiders for Gruden is working with their young quarterback, Derek Carr.

"I think he's got a huge upside," Gruden said. "I think with Greg Olson and the system we're going to put in place, it's going to demand a lot from him and I think that's what's going to unlock the greatness in him but very, very excited to have him as our quarterback."

Gruden did not elaborate on whether he had final say in personnel decisions but said he would work closely with Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie.

Comments
NFL Playoffs: Reconsidering the franchise quarterback imperative

NFL Playoffs: Reconsidering the franchise quarterback imperative

TAMPA — So much for needing a franchise quarterback to reach the Super Bowl.Sure, the Patriots Tom Brady is back in his seventh straight conference championship game and his 12th overall. But check out the other schlubs under center SundayIt's ...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Jameis Winston shares MLK’s message: Don’t lose infinite hope

Jameis Winston shares MLK’s message: Don’t lose infinite hope

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, only weeks removed from a disappointing 2017 season, had a relevant but larger message for teenagers on Friday morning: Don't let small setbacks keep you from your dreams."If you have a phone, if you have a pen and pa...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Greatest moment in Tampa Bay sports history happened 15 years ago today

Greatest moment in Tampa Bay sports history happened 15 years ago today

Happy Friday, Tampa Bay.Fifteen years ago today, Ronde Barber intercepted Donovan McNabb to shut down Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium and send the Bucs to the Super Bowl. Times columnist Tom Jones and many others consider this the greatest moment in ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
DeSean Jackson says Jameis Winston needs to stop trying to “impress the world,” and play his game

DeSean Jackson says Jameis Winston needs to stop trying to “impress the world,” and play his game

Receiver DeSean Jackson stopped short of saying he regretted his decision to sign a three-year, $33.5-million contract as a free agent with the Bucs last March. But he certainly is disappointed in his lack of chemistry with quarterback Jameis Winston...
Published: 01/17/18
Bucs LB Kwon Alexander headed to Pro Bowl

Bucs LB Kwon Alexander headed to Pro Bowl

Kwon Alexander is headed to the Pro Bowl.The third-year Bucs linebacker, who led the NFL in solo tackles a year ago, was announced Tuesday as an injury replacement for Seattle's Bobby Wagner.Alexander, 23, won't have to go far, as the game is back in...
Published: 01/16/18
Jason Licht addresses what went wrong for the Bucs in 2017 and how they plan to fix it

Jason Licht addresses what went wrong for the Bucs in 2017 and how they plan to fix it

It was a "brutal year." That's how general manager Jason Licht views the Bucs 2017 season.Expectations, many of them he said he "cringed at," nonetheless went unfulfilled due to injuries, particularly the right shoulder sprain suffered by quarterback...
Published: 01/15/18
Bucs search for a backup quarterback becomes paramount amid NFL’s probe into Winston

Bucs search for a backup quarterback becomes paramount amid NFL’s probe into Winston

With the NFL investigating allegations against Jameis Winston that potentially could result in a suspension, the Bucs will need to address the backup quarterback position again this off-season."That's another position I always want to do whatever we ...
Published: 01/15/18
NFL Playoffs: What playoff teams have that the Bucs don’t

NFL Playoffs: What playoff teams have that the Bucs don’t

TAMPA — How far away are the Bucs from being a playoff team?Maybe farther than you think. It's not just the 5-11 record or the difficulty of competing in the NFC South, which from top to bottom is clearly the best division in football.If you ex...
Published: 01/12/18
Jaguars defense salivates over rematch with Steelers

Jaguars defense salivates over rematch with Steelers

JACKSONVILLE — You can't blame the Jaguars' defense for being confident.First there was a division title, finishing second in the NFL in points and yards allowed, then holding Buffalo to three points last week in Jacksonville's first playoff ga...
Published: 01/12/18
PFF gives Bucs’ O.J. Howard lowest grade of any first-rounder

PFF gives Bucs’ O.J. Howard lowest grade of any first-rounder

By most accounts, Bucs tight end O.J. Howard had a promising rookie season. He caught six touchdown passes, which set a Bucs rookie record and was one short of the NFL high among rookies at any position.Pro Football Focus, in handing out grades to al...
Published: 01/10/18