After a nine-year absence from the NFL, Jon Gruden has been named head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Gruden, who last coached Tampa Bay in 2008, will reportedly sign a 10-year $100 million contract.
Raiders fans are ecstatic. Well, most of them, anyway.
“I’m split,” former Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison said on Reiter Than You. “I’m split as a fan, and I’m split as a former player. The fan in me was born and raised in Oakland, California. Some of my better days (were) the days spending time with my dad on Sundays watching Jon Gruden as the Raider football coach. He came in and immediately gave that team instant gratification, gave them instant success.”
Gruden led the Raiders to a 22-10 record in 2000-01, not to mention an AFC Championship appearance, and turned Rich Gannon into a household name.
“As a fan, I’m excited about getting back to what the Raiders were when I was in high school and middle school,” said Morrison, 35. “But the former player in me has a little bit of reserve because he has missed some time coaching in the NFL. It doesn’t mean he won’t hire an amazing staff, but the last time the Raiders hired a coach that coached there before was my second year in the league – 2006 – when they hired Art Shell for the second time.”
Shell, who coached the Raiders from 1989-94, went 2-14 in 2006.
“They rehired a coach that was out of touch with what was going on inside of the coaching circles and dealing with players on a day-to-day basis,” said Morrison, who played for the Raiders from 2005-09. “It’s one thing to be in a booth and meet with these college quarterbacks and get them on the board and things like that. But day-to-day relationships that you have to have with today’s NFL players are totally different than I think when Jon was the head coach. That’s my only takeaway from it as far as him not being successful. But I really believe it’s about his staff. I think his staff is what’s really going to help out this hire for the Raiders.”