Report: Jon Gruden might be close to returning to the NFC South

Chucky might be back in the division, but he's not joining the good guys.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers / Rex Brown/GettyImages

It's already been a busy offseason for NFC South teams not in the playoffs -- which is everybody except the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Despite being picked to be the second-worst team in the NFL this year during the offseason, the Bucs are preparing to play football on Wild Card weekend while the rest of the division sits at home sorting out what went wrong. Already the Atlanta Falcons have fired their head coach, joining the Carolina Panthers who fired their general manager on Monday.

The New Orleans Saints, the team picked by many as the clear and easy favorite to win the division, are also considering some moves.

Saints insider breaks down Jon Gruden potentially joining coaching staff

That's right, Chucky might be making a return to the NFC South.

Not only did Jon Gruden meet with the Saints, but it reportedly happened in Tampa when the team was there to play the Buccaneers in Week 17. It doesn't sound like Gruden would be hired to replace Pete Carmichael as offensive coordinator, but would join the staff in some capacity that was greater than the one he held while working with the team last August.

“We always consider new ideas,” Allen said. "I do think there are some things that we do offensively that have proven to work in our league, and I think we want to keep some of those things. And yet, I think we maybe need to look at how we can do things differently, too.”

Gruden already has his foot in the door as far as joining the staff in New Orleans because technically he already has. He consulted for the team this past offseason, with the idea being to help assimilate Derek Carr and the West Coast offense into the Saints system.

"Adding Gruden obviously comes with complications that would need to be navigated, starting with his lawsuit vs. NFL," Duncan wrote. "Strictly from a football standpoint, his addition would make sense. He is the father of this offensive system. Derek Carr likes him and has thrived under him."

Duncan also noted that while it makes sense for the Saints to bring Gruden in to fix the offense, it might not happen due to either his lawsuit against the league or the general controversy it would create.

Gruden returning to the NFL while actively suing the league seems unlikely, but crazier things have happened. If he does return, it sets up a dual revenge narrative that could play out next season. Not only would Gruden be coaching with both middle fingers up at the league, but he'd have extra incentive to get back at the Bucs for not only firing him but trying to erase him from the team's history.

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