There were growing indications Wednesday that the Washington Redskins are interested in trying to hire Jay Gruden as their coach. But there also were questions about whether Gruden, the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals who is being pursued by several other NFL teams with head coaching vacancies, would accept the Redskins’ job if offered.
Gruden is interviewing with Redskins officials Wednesday at the team’s headquarters in Ashburn, according to several people familiar with the situation.
“I think he’s their first choice,” one of those people said earlier Wednesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly on the team’s or Gruden’s behalf.
That person expressed the view that Gruden probably would prefer the Tennessee Titans’ coaching job over the Redskins’ job, but added his understanding is that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder might make a financial offer that would be difficult for Gruden to reject.
Gruden interviewed Tuesday with the Titans and is scheduled to interview Thursday with the Minnesota Vikings. Another person with knowledge of the matter said the Titans, Vikings and Detroit Lions all remain in the mix for Gruden.
There is sentiment around the league that Gruden has emerged as the front-runner for the Redskins’ coaching job if he wants it. A third person close to the situation said the Redskins clearly are interested in Gruden and expressed the view that Gruden would be able to make things work with quarterback Robert Griffin III.
Wednesday’s formal interview came after reports Tuesday night that Gruden arrived in town and was spotted having dinner with Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen. Gruden and Allen formerly worked together with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gruden was an assistant coach for his brother, Jon, and Allen was the team’s general manager.
Jay Gruden also worked with Redskins secondary coach Raheem Morris and tight ends coach Sean McVay in Tampa. He worked with McVay and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett in the United Football League. Morris, McVay and Haslett were not immediately fired by the Redskins when they dismissed Mike Shanahan as their coach and ousted much of his staff.
Gruden has been a head coach in the UFL and the Arena Football League. He oversaw the league’s 10th-ranked offense this season in Cincinnati.
Update, 4:37 p.m.
The Redskins confirmed they interviewed Gruden but declined further comment through a spokesman.
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