Jon Gruden showed you can go home again, returning to the franchise where he began his coaching career two decades ago.
As he was introduced as the new head coach of the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday, Gruden admitted he never thought he'd back on the sidelines in the Bay Area.
"Obviously, this is very emotional for me," said Gruden, who has been out of the NFL since coaching his seventh and final season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008. "I never wanted to leave the Raiders. I never thought I'd be back, but here I am and I'm ready to get to work."
Gruden left the broadcast booth at ESPN to return to the franchise where he spent his first four seasons as a head coach, posting a 38-26 regular-season record (40-28 overall) from 1998-2001 and guiding the team to a pair of playoff berths, including a berths in the AFC Championship Game in his last two seasons.
Known for his feisty sideline demeanor, Gruden admitted he has some "unfinished" business with the Raiders. His final game with Oakland was among the most controversial losses in NFL history, when the Raiders lost to the New England Patriots on the infamous Tom Brady "Tuck Rule" non-fumble call.
"For my career to end on that night in New England, it still ticks me off. I'm so thrilled to be back here," said Gruden. "I feel a lot of loyalty and I feel a lot of responsibility. ... I'm going to do everything I can to help this team get right again."
Gruden was traded to Tampa Bay in 2003 and proceeded to guide the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl championship in his first season. Overall, he is 95-81 in 11 regular seasons and 100-85 including the postseason.
Gruden succeeds Jack Del Rio, who was fired following a season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Chargers that capped a disappointing 6-10 campaign for the Raiders.
Multiple media outlets reported that Gruden received a 10-year contract worth an estimated $100 million -- the richest and longest in history for a coach. That deal was an obvious source of quizzing from the media, questions Gruden deftly deflected.
"I don't have a guarantee to be alive for 10 years, just so people know," said Gruden. "I don't really know the terms. All I know this year I'm going to be coaching in Oakland and next year I'm going to be coaching in Oakland, and I want to help deliver the best football team we can here for the people in Oakland.
"How long I say here will be determined by how well we play."
Raiders owner Mark Davis said the hiring of Gruden culminated a six-year goal that started when his father, the late Al Davis, passed away in 2011. Al Davis hired a 34-year-old Gruden to be the team's head coach in 1998.
"My vision at that time was to have Jon Gruden coach this football team and (general manager) Reggie McKenzie to bring in the talent," said Mark Davis, referring to when his father died. "It took me six years of chasing Jon. ... It is the biggest day of my life right now to have him here, to run this organization and be the leader of this organization on the field is going be phenomenal."
Among the four reasons Gruden offered for returning to the sidelines were: A love of football, a love of the City of Oakland, and a love of the Raiders.
"Most of all I love to win and I'm going to do everything I can," Gruden said. "No guarantees, no promises, but I want to win."
Asked about expectations and the accompanying pressure given both his pricey contract and his previous success with the franchise, Gruden had no illusions what awaits him.
"I know there's a big bull's-eye on my chest certainly, if people want to use that as incentive, so be it," said Gruden. "I worked for Al Davis in 1998. That was pressure. I was 34 years old. I've dealt with pressure before. I really don't feel pressure.
"I love the excitement and the thrill of competing. I can't worry about things I can't control in that regard, but I know people will want to step on me and beat me, and that's the way that this league is."
Gruden made it clear that McKenzie would continue to be the team's general manager and said personnel decisions would be a collaborative effort.