Embedded below is a good long-form piece on Jon Gruen’s return to the sideline after nine years spent as a broadcaster by ESPN. Sports Illustrated’s S.L. Price dives in on what Gruden missed about coaching and why he finally decided to coach again.
Having a son in the office is a bonus, no doubt, but Gruden’s guilt over neglecting his family has come and gone. The doubt planted by mentor Bobb McKittrick, a 49ers line coach who died lamenting their monomaniacal obsession with the game, has eased. “The one thing I will regret,” Gruden says, “is that [McKittrick and I] really didn’t take to fishing, we didn’t like traveling abroad. We just liked one thing. But I don’t think I’m going to be regretting my decision. Life is flying by. Here I’m 54 years old, just like that. Football is going to be the only consistent theme in my life. The feelings inside of me that I can’t get enough of”—and here Gruden squints, rubbing his fingertips together—“are nervousness, excitement, a little fear, a little pressure. People go to casinos to get that. But I wake up every morning now and I go, God! Whoo!”