Gruden and Allen back in Oakland? Not likely

Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen, the two men who helped craft the last Raiders Super Bowl team, are back on the open market after being fired by Tampa Bay on Friday. But don't expect Oakland owner Al Davis to be burning down the phone lines to either man.

Despite being without a head coach, and with a seemingly pressing need for a leader in the front office, the Raiders still aren't likely to bring back Gruden and Allen for a trip down Memory Lane for several reasons.

Gruden and Davis didn't exactly part on the best of terms. Although there wasn't the public sniping that highlighted the Davis-Lane Kiffin feud, it's not like Gruden and Al ended their relationship with a tearful hug. Part of the problem was Davis' reluctance to give Gruden a long-term contract extension the young coach felt he was due.

When Gruden and his agent, Bob LaMotte, gave the Raiders a deadline for a new deal to be done and essentially drew a line in the sand, Davis dug his heels in even more and refused to budge. The end result was the first trade of a head coach in franchise history, Gruden sent packing to Tampa Bay for a handful of draft picks and some cash.

Gruden got one up on his former boss when he led the Bucs to a Super Bowl win over Oakland in his first season in Tampa Bay, though it was with a team crafted largely by former coach Tony Dungy. Since then Gruden and the Bucs have failed to win a single playoff game.

While Gruden was easily the most animated and colorful coach the Raiders have had since John Madden, he didn't exactly wow Davis with some of his coaching moves. Davis, in fact, admitted that when Gruden and the Raiders beat Kansas City late in the 1999 season, it was a win that "kept him alive" as the team's head coach.

Ironically, while Gruden might have won the Super Bowl against the Raiders, it was Tampa Bay's late-season loss to Oakland that played a significant role in his getting fired. The Bucs started the season 9-3 but lost their final four games, including a season-ending defeat to the Raiders in what might have been Oakland's most impressive win of the season.

Allen would seem to be a perfect fit for the Raiders given his previous history with the team as a senior assistant and the fact that he's considered one of the NFL's best at massaging the salary cap. When Allen left the Raiders to follow Gruden to Tampa Bay, Davis distinctly left open the possibility that Allen might return to the team at some point in the future.

When he fired Kiffin after four games, Davis hinted at the possibility of bringing in someone to help in the front office, a pseudo-general manager if you will. Because Allen has maintained a good relationship with his former boss, it would appear to be logical reasoning that Davis would pick up the phone and dial Allen's number.

The problem, however, is that Allen is coming off a deal with Tampa Bay where he was paid $2 million a year. The Raiders obviously aren't cheap -- remember the money Al tossed around during free agency last year -- but Allen shouldn't hold his breath thinking Davis will give him anything close to that.

So while some people may want Gruden and Allen back in the Black Hole, it's not likely to happen.


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