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Why Jon Gruden is looking forward to working with Raiders' Derek Carr


Jon Gruden is officially back as the Oakland Raiders' head coach.

Gruden is referring to the 2001 AFC division playoff game between the Raiders and New England Patriots - a now legendary game played on a snow-covered field that began Tom Brady and Bill Belichick's historic run of five championships with the Patriots. He beat Oakland in the Super Bowl the next season but always identified with the Raiders.

"I want to thank the Gruden family from the bottom of my heart for making my dream come true", Davis said Tuesday afternoon. I never felt I'd be back, but here I am. I am not a real deep, philosophical person. And although he had $100 million other reasons to return to Oakland, he preferred to discuss his "loyalty", "responsibility" and the "unfinished business" he has there. "He's gotten exposed to a lot of different things". It's been a while since we've consistently performed at a high level ... The Raiders were staying in Sarasota, Fla., between games at Buffalo and Miami, and Davis went to seek counsel on how to fix a once-promising season gone awry.

"The reality is I haven't changed much at all since 1998", Gruden said. We're going to have conversations about that [with players].

In 11 seasons as an National Football League head coach and having counseled numerous quarterbacks, Gruden has never tutored the individual skill and promise he will find in Carr. If it's not permitted, the Raiders clearly broke the rules by striking a deal with Jon Gruden before firing Jack Del Rio. Sure, the chance to win, love of the game, etc., were all part of it, but the primary difference between this opportunity and all the others that he's had over the years is the contract that Raiders owner Mark Davis gave him, which is a reported 10-year, $100 million deal. What if Carr can't take it after a couple of years and wants to leave?

And while the team is moving to Las Vegas in a couple of years from now, Gruden says he's excited to see his friends in the Black Hole again and make this team a victor here. "Somebody asked me, what was harder - to get the 31 votes to move to Las Vegas?" Davis said. "And by far, to get Jon Gruden was the toughest". Gruden himself pointed out several times during the half-hour news conference that he has "a lot to prove" after spending the last nine years outside of the game - an odd admission from a man who was just given a decade-long contract with an annual eight-figure salary.


"I'm already here! Listening to Jon got me fired up", said Jerry Rice. "But I'm very, very excited to have him as our quarterback".

Gruden confirmed that he has hired three coordinators: Greg Olson (Los Angeles Rams QBs coach) for offence, Paul Guenther for defence (from the same job in Cincinnati) and Rick Bisaccia for special teams (from the same job in Dallas).

Gruden - who has been nicknamed Chucky due to a resemblance to the main character in the "Child's Play" horror movie series - had been a television analyst with ESPN since 2009 before returning to the Raiders.

"I have not coached since 2008", Gruden said.

Gruden and holdover GM Reggie McKenzie, with whom the new coach spent a year working alongside in Green Bay under Ron Wolf, will collaborate on every personnel decision, he said.

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