Jon Gruden hasn’t been just another NFL analyst since his brother was hired by the Redskins. The ESPN analyst did a coaching clinic in Richmond during Jay Gruden’s first training camp. His offseason work with Kirk Cousins became national news. He knew one play the Redskins were going to call during a preseason game before the ball was even snapped.
And his ties are about to get even closer. The Redskins have hired Jay Gruden’s nephew, Jon David Gruden II — a.k.a. “Deuce,” to the Gruden family — to be a strength-coach intern.
The news first came out, as far as I can tell, via an ESPN Fathers’ Day tweet. Jon Gruden was among the many ESPNers who shared some thoughts about being a father.
“I grew up in a family of three boys and now I have three boys,” Gruden said, via ESPN PR. “Sports has always been a big part of our family and the time we spend together. Our oldest, Deuce, just graduated from Lafayette College where he played football. Now he has a great opportunity to start a career as a strength coach with the Washington Redskins. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
— ESPN Monday Night (@ESPNMondayNight) June 20, 2016
Deuce was a tailback at Lafayette, recording 16 carries for 46 yards over his last two seasons. He played quarterback, wide receiver, linebacker and safety in high school, where he was a team captain his final two seasons. Jon Gruden also helped coach Deuce in high school. Via the Orlando Sentinel:
Jon David Gruden watches Jon David Gruden II — Deuce wears No. 22 (as in “Double Deuce”) — and it’s like traveling back in time. In so many ways, he sees the same quiet, smallish, husky, freckled-faced kid that darted about the fields of his youth.
Deuce’s grandfather sees him, also.
“And I think this one might be a little crazy, too,” Jon’s dad, Jim Gruden, said.
He also has a reputation for seeking out physical play. As a high school senior, the 5-foot-6 180-pound Gruden said he could bench-press 350 pounds. Jay Gruden was asked this week about the process of hiring such coaching interns.
“You always want to grow your staff within the organization,” Jay Gruden said on ESPN 980 in response to a question about Deuce. “So if somebody leaves — like Chad Englehart’s our number-two strength coach. If he were to get a number-one somewhere, which he deservedly should be somewhere, then you like to promote within your organization.
“That’s how you build strong organizations. When you lose a player to free agency, you promote your practice squad guys or your draft picks to take their spots. That’s how you become a solid organization, and that’s how we want to build it.”