San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh is one of the most successful coaches to man the team’s sideline in the heralded history of the franchise.
But as we have been noticing in recent months, things simply aren’t right between Harbaugh and the organization. This has led to widespread speculation that two two sides will part ways after what has been a disappointing 2014 campaign through Week 14.
Even before anything has really been settled in Santa Clara, names are starting to be mentioned as potential replacements for the embattled head coach.
We are hearing through multiple sources directly linked to former Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden that he is interested in San Francisco’s head coaching job should it open up in January.
Gruden, who hasn’t coached since being let go by the Buccaneers in 2008, has continually indicated that he’s happy with his job as an announcer and analyst on ESPN. But up to this point, he has yet to flatly deny an interest in returning to the NFL as a head coach.
Those close to the situation believe that Gruden would only look for a NFL head coaching job on the west coast, California in particular.
And despite rumors linking him to the Raiders job, these sources indicate that Gruden views a potential opening in San Francisco as more desirable, especially considering at what stage he is in his career.
Needless to say, San Francisco would provide Gruden a better opportunity to contend over the short term.
In terms of Gruden the quarterback guru, both Oakland and San Francisco possess that young quarterback that he could help mold into his own. Outside of the professional aspect, Gruden will also look to do what’s best for his wife Cindy and their four children.
And while most people remember Gruden as the Raiders head coach, few realize that his NFL coaching career actually started with the 49ers under George Seifert in 1990 when he was an offensive assistant.
Not only does this make Gruden a member of the Bill Walsh coaching tree, it makes him a small part of the 49ers’ family.
Interestingly enough, the three head coaches that Gruden served under (Seifert, Mike Holmgren and Ray Rhodes) are also part of the Walsh tree and served as assistants in San Francisco.
If Harbaugh and the 49ers do part ways, it’s safe to say that they will feel out Gruden as a potential replacement. If so, he seems more than willing to rejoin the ranks of the employed.