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Report: Raiders going after Jon Gruden, offer him stake in team

The Raiders are set to make a serious offer to Jon Gruden in hopes he returns to coach the team, ESPN reported Saturday.

Gruden has been an offered an ownership stake in the team as enticement, the report said. "I donít want to sit here and speculate," Gruden told the network he works for. "There is no news. Ö I canít say I havenít taken any phone calls. I take a lot Ö from coaches, some others, yeah, sometimes owners. Guys want to bounce ideas off me. Iím here to help people."

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was given an extension after the 2016 season that was believed to pay him at least $5 million per season over the next four seasons.

Gruden was hired by Al Davis to coach the Raiders from 1998 through 2001. After a loss to New England in an AFC division playoff game, Gruden was traded to the Bucs for two first-round picks, two second-round picks and $8 million. The Raiders then won the AFC championship under Bill Callahan but were routed by Grudenís Bucs in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Gruden, 54, has been reluctant to return to the NFL in part because of his high-paying job with ESPN on Monday Night Football and because he has been vocal in his distaste for NFLPA-mandated restrictions on practice and training time. He has frequently been rumored to fill coaching vacancies, pro and college, since his firing by Tampa Bay after the 2008 season.

TRULY A LAST LAUGH: An Ohio manís tongue-in-cheek obituary blames the winless Browns for contributing to his demise. The obituary published in the Sandusky Register says Paul Stark, 80, of Mansfield died Wednesday at a hospice facility after a brief illness "exacerbated by the hopeless condition of the Cleveland Browns." The team was 1-15 last season. Itís 0-15 going into todayís finale in Pittsburgh.

GIANTS FIRE VP: The Giants fired Marc Ross, their vice president of player evaluation. Itís the first move by new GM Dave Gettleman since rejoining the franchise. Ross had been with the team since 2007, serving six years as director of college scouting.

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