Matt Bryant has seen it all in his NFL years of kicking, and while the 36-year-old free agent wants to be in the NFL in 2011, some comments he made about former coach Jon Gruden are drawing more interest than that of who Bryant may be kicking for this season.
Bryant told The Record reporter Joe Kazmar he hopes to play a few more seasons in NFL, and that he would again love to kick for friend and former head coach in Gruden. Bryant went so far as to say he thinks Gruden will be coaching by 2012.
“Gruden was 100 per cent committed to his job and was always very focused on what he was doing,” Bryant said. “He got fired right after he signed a three-year extension. I believe Gruden will return to coaching after this season when the money from his extension runs out. We are still very good friends.”
Gruden compiled a 95-81 regular season record and 5-4 post-season record in 11 seasons as a head coach in the NFL, beginning with the Oakland Raiders from 1998-2001 and continuing with the Buccaneers from 2002-08. The Buccaneers won Super Bowl XXXVII in Gruden’s first season in Tampa, beating the Raiders 48-21.
Now an analyst on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, Gruden has been linked to several head coaching positions, both college and pro, over the last three years. Gruden has also declared himself the head of the “Fired Football Coaches Association” and has been putting the top quarterbacks in the NFL draft under the microscope in the “Gruden’s QB Camp” series on ESPNU.
During the first episode of 2011, Gruden was telling University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker that thick skin was a necessity in the NFL, pointing out that even a Super Bowl win didn’t keep him from being fired. Gruden added that “he’ll be back someday”.
“Someday” may be January 2012.