Dick Vermeil, who retired as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles at age 46 and entered the media world before returning to coaching and winning a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams in his 60s, thinks former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden may follow a similar path back to the sidelines, Pro Football Talk reports.
Vermeil shared his thoughts on Gruden this week on SiriusXM NFL Radio, saying, “No question, he’s a hell of a lot better coach than I am, and a lot smarter,” Vermeil said. “I think he would be very successful. I hope he does come back because I like him a lot.”
Gruden, a former head coach of the Oakland Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, won Super Bowl XXXVII in 2002 in his first year with the Buccaneers, defeating the Raiders, his former team, and becoming the youngest head coach ever to win a Super Bowl at age 39.
Now 50, Gruden signed a long-term deal with ESPN—he is a popular member of the network’s Monday Night Football broadcasting team—and he has indicated that he enjoys his current role and doesn’t plan on coaching again.
When NFL coaching rumors swirl, however, Gruden, along with the likes of Bill Cowher and Tony Dungy, are generally in the conversations to fill head coaching vacancies. And while Vermeil believes that coaches often regret walking away and insists Gruden will be a better coach following a few years away from the grind, Gruden appears perfectly content in the booth. Besides, he already has a Super Bowl ring.
In a December 2013 interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Gruden said, “I don’t want to be considered for any of these jobs. I don’t want to be considered for anything. There are plenty of good candidates out there. I’m just sick for the guys who can no longer coach their teams. I’m hoping to do the best I can to hang on to my job.”
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