If Jon Gruden doesn't appreciate the speculation that he'd bail on his new contract with ESPN to return and coach the Raiders if they offered, he's got a funny way of showing it. And his funny way of showing it was spending Sunday at a post-game party at a Raiders bar in San Leandro, buying Raiders jerseys and hats and staying to revel with Raiders fans until nearly midnight.
Gruden is in town to call the Monday Night game at Candlestick Park for ESPN's Monday Night Football. For whatever his reasons are, he ditched his dinner plans in San Francisco to hit the post-game party at Ricky's Sports Theater in San Leandro.
Jerry McDonald reports in the Oakland Tribune that fans had a "Welcome Back Jon Gruden" banner up within moments.
Gruden didn't exactly try to evade the bum rush of fans. He bought Raiders visor and a Bo Jackson jersey from the gift shop and then spent hours signing stuff and posing for pictures with fans.
The Oakland Trib reports that Gruden stayed at Ricky's partying with Raiders fans until 11:30 in the evening. Realize, though, that Jon Gruden's idea of partying is spending hours pointing at football players and growling at maximum volume statements that begin with, "Look at the effort!", "You want to talk about toughness?", and "I'll tell you what! That guy is a football player!"
Monday Night Football co-commentators Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski were also in Gruden's party at Ricky's. The Oakland Tribune reports that Gruden purchased Raiders caps for them and forced the guys to wear them the remainder of the evening.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who will totally take one of those free Raiders caps from Jon Gruden.