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Jon Gruden: 'I don't foresee myself coaching anytime soon'

TAMPA, Fla. -- Former Buccaneers head coach and ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden said Wednesday that he is not planning a return to coaching.

"I don't foresee myself coaching anytime soon," said Gruden, who led the Bucs to a Super Bowl XXXVII victory in 2002 and who will be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor this fall. "But I do like getting as close to the fire as possible.

"All I really have going is football. I don't know what I would do without it. I'm happy with what I'm doing. I study as if I am a coach. I still make my own breakdowns. I still come up with my own playbook -- I just don't have anybody to give it to."

Last week, Gruden, 53, told the website PewterReport.com, "I've met with several people -- I won't deny that."

"Just about every year I talk about coming back to coach," he said. "I'm not in here every day at 4:30 or 4:00 in the morning watching pinball, you know? I'm preparing myself to come back. I am. Every day. I'm preparing to come back."

In the interview, he didn't specify when a return might happen.

His wife, Cindy, said he approaches his analyst position the same way he would if he were still coaching.

"He loves watching tape," Cindy Gruden said. "That's all he does. He has this 5,000-square-foot office that is stuffed to the gills with all the bricks that he's made of situations. He just loves watching it, and he loves having that library. I've never seen anyone that can sit down and have the patience to do that. He doesn't have that patience for anything else.

"He just loves that part of it," she said. "He's truly found what he likes. I don't know if that includes coaching or not. But he loves it. I don't know how he does it. I would lose my mind."

At the team facility Wednesday, Jon Gruden didn't say anything about retirement. Instead, he was feeling nostalgic, and even emotional. He talked about "Pound that rock!" which became the team's mantra in 2002. He reminisced about the times he'd play scout team quarterback and go up against Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks, who was in attendance, along with former Bucs Brad Johnson, Michael Clayton, Quincy Black, Martin Gramatica and Ring of Honor member Jimmie Giles.

"I was Rich Gannon. I was ripping you guys, Brooks!" Gruden said, the room erupting into laughter. "Those slants, square-ins, I was checking off. If I would have played in the Super Bowl for the Raiders, it might not have been the same outcome! That's what I remember.

"I spent my life in here for seven years," Gruden said. "There were some great times. There were some tough times. But there were a lot of memories, and they'll never go away.

"To come back here...I feel like I'm still coaching," Gruden said, laughing. "I feel like I could have gone out there today with a script. And then I saw Jameis Winston, and I was like, 'Damn! I wish I had that guy!' He's a good player. A good player."

Gruden has not coached since he was fired by the Buccaneers following the 2008 season, after Tampa Bay dropped four straight games and failed to qualify for the playoffs. Gruden led the Bucs to three NFC South titles and the Super Bowl title, and the Oakland Raiders to two AFC West titles.

He joined Monday Night Football in 2009, replacing Tony Kornheiser.