LAKE TAHOE – As the always talkative Sterling Sharpe made his way to the clubhouse after a long round of 18 holes and a long radio appearance, RaidersSnakepit.com approached him and wondered if he could spare a couple of minutes after a long day.
The topic – Jon Gruden.
“My guy,” Sharpe barked feet away from the lake at the wonderful American Century celebrity Golf Championship this week.
“I love Gruden.”
Those two minutes morphed into several.
Sharpe has a lot to talk about and when it comes to Gruden. They go back 26 years.
When Gruden joined Mike Holmgren’s staff (and it was a super staff) in 1992 in Green Bay, Sharpe was already an establish superstar receiver. Gruden was just 28, but he had some skins of his own. He was an offensive assistant in San Francisco in 1990. He worked closely with Jerry Rice, the greatest receiver in the NFL.
Sharpe still appreciates how Gruden approached working him.
“He never talked about Jerry, or compared me to him,” Gruden said. “The focus was always on me. He always knew how to coach.”
Sharpe said he could tell then that Gruden would become a head coach. It happened six years later when Al Davis hired him. Gruden is back in the NFL with the Raiders know, and Sharpe is thrilled that he is back.
“Jon knows what he is doing,” Sharpe said. “He’s going to be OK. It’s the right fit.”
Sharpe said he doesn’t know for certain but he things Gruden is back for a couple of reason. Sharpe thinks it nags at Chucky that people say he only won a Super Bowl title with Tony Dungy’s team. The Buccaneers beat the Raiders in a year after Al Davis traded Gruden to Tampa.
Also, Sharpe thinks the way he left the Raiders may have left a bad taste in his mouth.
“He’s back for a reason. He wants to right some wrongs,” Sharpe. “And I can’t wait to see it.”