Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden says he'll be back coaching again

TAMPA — Chucky says he will stalk the sidelines again.

It took nearly two weeks of listening to stinging criticisms from several players, but Jon Gruden finally broke his silence Wednesday about his stunning firing as coach of the Buccaneers.

Gruden, 45, admitted he was blindsided by his dismissal on Jan. 16, when the Glazer family fired their seven-year coach and replaced him with defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.

But Gruden vowed to continue coaching and has not ruled out working on the collegiate level.

"Chucky will be back and hopefully my teeth will be as sharp as ever," he told on Wednesday.

Gruden will earn about $15 million for the three years remaining on his contract but intends to use his whistle, whether it's "NFL, college, high school or, maybe, I'll just be the best damn flag football coach in the history of Florida. I'm now head of the FFCA — Fired Florida Coaches Association."

While Gruden has maintained his sense of humor, there's nothing funny about the poor characterizations of the ex-Bucs coach offered by current players Michael Clayton and Jeff Garcia and former Buc Simeon Rice.

"I'm not the first coach to take potshots. Hey, some people were taking potshots at Tony Dungy when I got here," Gruden said. "Jeff Garcia, Michael Clayton, I wish those guys the best. I hope Raheem gets this thing going again."

Despite back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in his seven-year career with the Bucs, Gruden's club became the first in 15 years to start the season 9-3 and miss the playoffs. Tampa Bay lost four straight in December.

"It was rough the way it ended, losing three or four games," he said. "This was the first time in my life being on the front line of the firing squad after 11 years. I've just taken a couple days to unwind with my family. A lot of people have called, being very supportive."

The Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, said it took into consideration feedback from players and fans before arriving at the decision to fire Gruden, whose team reached the playoffs twice after winning the Super Bowl in January 2003 but never won another postseason game.

"We won a Super Bowl," Gruden said. "I got a game ball for winning more games than any Bucs coach in history. I got a game ball for my 100th win (including playoff wins). … Again, it was tough the way it ended, but we did some good things, and I know some people who think we overachieved."

Gruden disagreed with the notion that he could not or would not develop young quarterbacks.

"I really only had one young guy to work with in Chris Simms," he said. "I'd love a shot to coach some young college guys. Look, you know me. I'm an addict. I love to coach."

But for now Gruden is keeping his options open and considering an immediate job. He suggested that he might trade in his headset for a microphone "especially if I actually get to talk about football."

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden says he'll be back coaching again 01/28/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 29, 2009 7:37am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …