Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

NFL intimidation? Deuce Gruden makes a strong first impression

TAMPA — That Deuce Gruden, just 23 years old, could follow in father Jon's footsteps with a job in the NFL isn't that surprising, coming from a family of coaches and inheriting his father's competitive nature and love of football.

That he could be 5 feet 5, 180 pounds and get a job as a strength coach in the NFL is a little more incredible, but the Carrollwood Day School graduate has put in enough time in weight rooms to command authority, even in a room of NFL players.

"I like to get lifts in with some of the guys, and they see what I can do, so there's a respect there," said Deuce, home to see family in Tampa for a break before the season. "It was kind of intimidating at first. I'm not going to lie."

Courtesy of Deuce Gruden

Deuce Gruden recently won a gold medal in the 183-pound weight class at the International Powerlifting Federation's World Classic.

Jon David Gruden II reports next week as an assistant strength coach on his uncle Jay's staff with the Redskins, having joined the team last year as a strength and conditioning intern and making a strong impression.

One look at Deuce and his physique is impressive. He went a step farther last month, winning a gold medal in the 183-pound weight class at the International Powerlifting Federation's World Classic in Minsk, Belarus.

"I've been working a long time, lifting a lot of weights since, shoot, pretty much eighth grade," he said. "To see it all come together, to walk away with a title, it's crazy."

His numbers from Minsk are staggering: he squatted 600 pounds, more than triple his weight; he bench-pressed 418 pounds, more than double his weight; and dead-lifted 640 pounds. What's more, he is disappointed he didn't perform better: "I'm not really satisfied. I got the title, but I had more juice in me," he said. "But I can't complain. If there's one thing I learned in football, a win's a win."

RAW NATIONALS: Watch Deuce Gruden in action.

What made it more special was having his family on hand to cheer him on, making the same long trip from Tampa to Frankfurt, Germany, then to Minsk, about 450 miles west of Moscow.

"To have them in my corner was definitely a plus," he said. "It was an interesting journey for all of us. It was intense over there, but it was cool to experience it with the family."

His father, who coached the Bucs from 2002-08, jokes that he was hoping Tampa would host the meet, and while he travels plenty for Monday Night Football and once went to Tokyo for a Bucs preseason game, this was an ambitious undertaking for the family.

"We're novice travelers," Jon said. "We don't leave the state of Florida often, and when we do, we go to Tennessee. We were nervous, but really took it as a great opportunity to come closer together as a family and support our son, who's sacrificed a great deal to get to where he is. We all went, and we're all glad we did."

It's a long way from Carrollwood Day School, which was playing eight-man football when Deuce arrived. He played well enough as the program grew to earn a scholarship to Lafayette, where he was a running back and earned his degree in biology, graduating last year.

Octavio Jones | Times (2011)

Jon Gruden, right, was an assistant coach on son Deuce's high school team at Carrollwood Day.

Even before Deuce's dedication in the weight room, his father remembers his son taking care of his body, suggesting he may have never eaten a French fry, or ordered a Coke, joking that his percent body fat is "negative."

"I'm not the type of guy that's going to throw down McDonald's and rinse that down with a Mountain Dew," said Deuce, who eats a steady diet of grilled fish, chicken and steak. "I watch what I eat, big-time. I eat a lot, but I eat a lot of the right stuff. It's an easy choice."

His grandfather Jim spent 20 years as a coach and scout in college and the NFL, and Jon was the youngest head coach ever to win at Super Bowl — only 39 — when the Bucs won in 2003. But Deuce is on a faster track — Jon worked at four colleges before getting his first NFL job at age 26; uncle Jay was 35 when he joined Jon's Bucs staff in 2002.

STRONG MAN: Weight of family name no sweat for Jon Gruden's son.

The Gruden name carries high expectations, but Deuce is out to make a name for himself, and his off-field accomplishments make him hard to overlook.

"He's not little. He's just short. He's a powerful guy," his father said. "To have that (lifting championship) on his resume helps him from a credibility standpoint when he's teaching players how to power-clean or bench or squat properly. He has a rare combination of lifting experience and technical experience, and what he's gaining from the Redskins coaching staff is invaluable."

For the second year in a row, Deuce will get a homecoming next month when the Redskins finish the preseason with a game against the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium. At 23, his coaching career is only beginning, and he appreciates the opportunities his family has given him, hopeful he has a long run ahead of him.

"I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for what my dad and uncle have done," he said. "So to be doing this at 23, I'm incredibly blessed and happy with where I am."

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

NFL intimidation? Deuce Gruden makes a strong first impression 07/12/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 12:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off

    Nba

    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  2. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH:

  3. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium

    Bucs

    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  4. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem

    Bucs

    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national anthem …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  5. Matt Peca making case for Lightning spot

    Blogs

    Center Matt Peca said he didn't read too much into the fact he was the only Lightning player to appear in each of the first three exhibition games.

    But Peca, 24, loved it.

    Matt Peca won nine of 10 faceoffs Friday, a skill the Lightning badly needs.