Davis eventually rehired Gruden in 2018 to take over after the Raiders fired Jack Del Rio following the 2017 season.
Former Raiders coach Jack Del Rio told the MMQB that Mark Davis, the team's owner, told him numerous times that he would pursue Jon Gruden as a head coach if he ever had the chance.
Del Rio said Davis first told him he'd bring back Gruden when Del Rio was hired to replace Dennis Allen in 2015. He added that Davis reiterated his desire again when he signed his four-year contract extension in 2017. Del Rio was eventually fired after the 2017 season when Oakland went just 6–10 and was replaced by none other than Gruden.
“He was always very straightforward with the fact that he was in love with Jon, and if he had the chance, he was going to hire him,” Del Rio told the MMQB. “He said it every chance he got.”
Gruden spent four seasons with the Raiders from 1998-2001, after which he left Oakland for Tampa Bay. He spent six seasons with the Bucs before retiring from the field and taking a job as a television analyst.
Gruden's recent return to the Raiders and coaching came after a nine-year stint with ESPN's Monday Night Football. Davis, who had reportedly been wanting to hire Gruden for six years, signed the coach a 10-year contract worth an estimated $100 million.
The Raiders went just 4–12 in 2018 in Gruden's first season back at the helm.