Peter Mucha, Philly.com Staff Writer
Posted: Tuesday, January 8, 2013, 10:10 AM
Jon Gruden would like to be an NFL head coach again, and the Eagles would be wise to speak with him, Ron Jaworski said Monday.
Agreeing with that this morning was former Eagles pro personnel director Mike Lombardi.
Meanwhile, forget about Alabama head coach Nick Saban, despite fans clamoring on Twitter in the wake of the Crimson Tide's trouncing of Notre Dame, 42-14, in Monday night's college football championship game.
"I don't have any unfinished business in the NFL ... It's not even something I want to do," Saban said Saturday, according to Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune.
Jaworski, former Eagles quarterback turned ESPN analyst, said he spoke with Gruden, ESPN Monday Night Football commentator who in 2003 led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an upset victory over the Eagles en route to a Super Bowl title.
"He's had numerous meetings, and he has told teams he is not interested in certain jobs," 'Jaws' told Mike Missanelli of 97.5 The Fanatic. "There are jobs that he is interested in. But no one at those teams has reached out to him or they may already have a coach in place."
Were the Eagles off his list? Missanelli asked.
"No, I didn't say that," Jaworski said. "They haven't reached out to Jon."
It wasn't a crystal-clear expression of desire for the Eagles job, contrary to some reports.
But Jaworski couldn't have been more direct about his advice to the Eagles: "I would want a guy that is a proven winning Super Bowl coach."
Instead, the Eagles seem to be focused on "second-tier candidates" - college guys and "assistant coaches that haven't proven themselves."
One of those assistants is Jon Gruden's younger brother, Jay, offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. The team sought and has obtained permission to interview him.
The team should have met first with the likes of Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher, who won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers, if only "just to kind of pick their brains, which I think is always very, very important, to give you some help in the direction that you want to take your franchise," Jaworski said.
"To me, those are two guys that I would have gone to first," he said.
Both would be good fits because they have Eagles ties - Cowher played for the team, and Gruden was an offensive coordinator here - and have hard-nosed personalities that could work in Philadelphia, Jaworski said.
"We know the job in Philly is not for everyone," he said. "You better not be sensitive, you better have a tough skin, you better have a strong backbone, and be able to deal with the media and the fans of this town."
Money is apparently not the issue, if reports are correct the Eagles were offering University of Oregon's Chip Kelly in the neighborhood of $8 million a year, Jaworski said.
As to why the Eagles brain trust - owner Jeffrey Lurie, president Don Smolenski and general manager Howie Roseman - has gone in a different direction, Jaworski simply said, "You're talking about some pretty high maintenance guys."
But Angelo Cataldi addressed that issue this morning, asking NFL Network analyst Lombardi, who worked for Lurie, if the Eagles owner dislikes people with an "animated presence" like Jon Gruden.
"I don't think Jeffrey has a problem with that," Lombardi said, saying Lurie encourages debate.
Gruden seems eager to return to coaching, because he may think he "has something to prove to people ... that he's still young and can do it," Lombardi said.
Who would make a better head, Kelly or Gruden? Cataldi asked.
After trumpeting Kelly's creativity a bit, and hedging by saying "it really depends on the organization and fit," Lombardi finally chose a side:
"If I had to lean one way or another, I would say Jon, because he has pro experience."
Also ignoring Gruden, despite being turned down by Kelly, are the Cleveland Browns, where the new CEO is ex-Eagles president Joe Banner.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or email@example.com.
Peter Mucha Philly.com Staff Writer