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The Early Lead
Posted at 11:42 AM ET, 08/21/2012

Jon Gruden says he’ll return to coaching...if he gets “the right opportunity”


Jon Gruden, who formerly coached the Raiders, was greeted warmly by fans in Oakland at a recent “Monday Night Football” game. (Tony Avelar / AP)

Really, did anyone think that, at the age of 49, coaching is out of Chucky’s blood?

An analyst on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” since 2009, Jon Gruden intimated that he would return to the NFL sideline if the right offer came along. In an interview with Bryant Gumbel on HBO’s “Real Sports,” Gruden confirmed what has been suspected: he has turned down coaching opportunities.

“I'm trying to figure out where I'm going,” Gruden told Gumbel. “If the right opportunity presents itself, I will come back.”

Gruden was fired in January 2009 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a seven-year stint and a Super Bowl win. The firing, he admitted, stung.

“I got fired; I was emotional,” Gruden said. “I was upset and I'm still emotional and upset about it to a degree when I think about it.”

Gruden also left with a record that was barely over .500.

“Not good. I mean, that's average,” he said. “Fifty-seven and 55? That's nothing to get excited about, but I don't like to live in the rear-view mirror.”

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