NFL lawsuit may prevent former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden from 2024 return with New Orleans Saints

Jon Gruden
Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has been out of the league since resigning in 2021 following the release of emails showing him using a racist trope against a league executive. Now thanks to an ongoing lawsuit, there’s a chance Gruden could be prevented from making an NFL return.

Gruden, 60, has been looking for a way to return to coaching. The former Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach did some consulting work for the New Orleans Saints in 2023, assisting with Derek Carr’s first year with the team. However, he hasn’t officially been a part of any coaching staff since his resignation.

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Gruden, who believes he was specifically targeted by the NFL, is suing the league for wrongful termination. The ongoing civil suit is expected to be a major storyline for the NFL in 2024, with the former head coach unwilling to settle and pushing to have emails of other league executives and owners revealed through discovery.

Similar to Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores, Gruden hasn’t received any interview requests for head coach vacancies this offseason. While rules would prohibit the league from blackballing coaches from head-coaching interviews for suing the NFL, the possibility of the suit impacting Gruden’s desirability is a point of discussion.

As noted by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the NFL didn’t come after the Saints last season when they brought in Gruden as a consultant. However, the very fact that Flores has no head-coach interview requests and Gruden remains unable to find full-time work raises questions about the NFL’s message to teams.

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Gruden could settle the lawsuit, agreeing to a financial settlement with the NFL. However, despite his desire to keep coaching, his negative feelings towards commissioner Roger Goodell and the league executives he believes used him as a scapegoat, have fueled his desire to pursue this lawsuit to the end. As long as it’s ongoing, it seems unlikely we’ll see Gruden coaching on an NFL sideline.

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