The Raiders gave Jon Gruden a 10-year deal worth as much as $100 million to return to the NFL as head coach in Oakland.
It is the richest deal in league history for a head coach.
But Gruden, 54, told USA Today that if he flops in his second go-round with the team, he won’t keep cashing the checks through the next decade.
“If I can’t get it done, I’m not going to take their money,” he said.
As the Raiders begin to report for training camp Wednesday in preparation for the team’s first practice Friday, Gruden’s Raiders are a long shot to compete for the Super Bowl. After flailing and failing in a 6-10 season in 2017, the Raiders went through a churning offseason in which Gruden and his staff replaced Jack Del Rio, new offensive and defensive schemes were installed and the roster was re-made.
So, Gruden says he’s not thinking about the second through 10th years of his deal. He’s just thinking about training camp and year one.
“Who guarantees I’m going to live 10 years?” he told USA Today. “So I don’t think about that. You start thinking about a 10-year contract – people don’t know how it’s structured and it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is, ‘Is Khalil Mack going to be here? Is Donald Penn going to be ready to play?’ I’ve got more important things to worry about than eight years of my contract.”
Though he’d been out of the NFL for several years, Gruden appears to be committed to coaching the Raiders. He’s even embraced Raiders fans again, interacting with them across the Bay Area this offseason. Last week, in fact, he hosted a big fan appreciation event.
Said Gruden, to the fans, according to Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle: “There’s nobody like you. And I just got to tell you, it’s great to be back, man.”