It seems anyone who ever had an affiliation with the Philadelphia Eagles wants Jon Gruden to be the team’s next head coach.
Except for the team.
Former Eagles and St. Louis Rams head coach Dick Vermeil took to Philadelphia’s radio waves to say he thinks Gruden would be an excellent replacement for Andy Reid.
"I just think he's a helluva of a football coach, and I don't want him to make the mistake I made, to wait too long to go back," Vermeil said of Gruden to 94 WIP. "I just think he's a helluva football coach and a great personality."
One of only two quarterbacks to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl talked about his ESPN cohort with 97.5 FM The Fanatic. Current ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski, who works with Gruden at ESPN, said the 49-year-old would comeback if the right situation presented itself.
“Jon has gotten a lot of discussion,” Jaworski said. “It’s just not as public as some of the other ones. I spoke to Jon earlier, and we spoke about it. He’s had numerous meetings. He has told teams that he is not interested in certain jobs. There are jobs that he’s interested in, but no one at those teams has reached out to him, or they may even have a coach in place.”
To date the Eagles have reportedly interviewed a minimum eight candidates since firing Reid, who served 14 seasons but was finally shown the door after a disappointing 4-12 season.
Gruden’s last gig was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he was fired after a four-game losing streak bounced them out of a playoff spot in 2008. Gruden did guide the team to their only Super Bowl title in 2002 and amassed a 112-57 regular season record.
In early November when Phildelphia first started to flounder under Reid and speculation insisted the players were tuning him out, Gruden’s name was dropped as a replacement, maybe even in midseason. However Gruden sidestepped those rumors, saying he was not interested in coaching.
So far no reports suggest Philadelphia team officials have contacted Gruden or his agent, but many former head coaches and top assistants have gone through the wringer. The Cleveland Brown were also interested in Gruden, but those overtures clearly didn't get very far, as they tapped Rob Chudzinski as their new head coach Friday.
Philadelphia did get permission to speak to Gruden’s brother Jay, who is the offensive coordinator for the Cinncinnati Bengals. He’s been an integral factor in the growth of quarterback Andy Dalton, and Jay Gruden’s offense helped running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis put together the best season of his career.
The Eagles also made Chip Kelly’s decision to return to Oregon difficult, and may have gotten Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly a raise after reportedly sitting down with him after the BCS title game.
Recently fired Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith also met with Philadelphia, but the NFL Network reported Friday that Smith boarded a flight to San Diego, speculating he is also interviewing with the San Diego Chargers about their vacancy.
Then of course there is Bill Cowher, who hasn’t coach since 2006 but due to his recent comments that he will coach again, was immediatey tied to the Eagles after they let Reid go. Still, conflicting reports make it uncertain if Philadelphia even wants Cowher or vice versa.