This year’s “Hard Knocks” will feature some interesting stories. From the potential rise of Jameis Winston into an upper-echelon quarterback to DeSean Jackson’s arrival to wide receiver Bernard Reedy’s unique second job/human-interest tale.
For at least one episode, though, the HBO producers will have one of the NFL’s signature voices talking. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are inducting Jon Gruden into their Ring of Honor this season, and the press conference announcing that will occur in August. Apparently, that’s not by coincidence.
According to JoeBucsFan.com, Gruden’s press conference — set for August 2 in Tampa — was delayed for an opportunity for the Gruden event to be part of the HBO series. Former owner Malcolm Glazer will also be inducted. Glazer died in 2014, but Gruden and the Glazer family weren’t believed to be on good terms for a while following Gruden’s ouster from Tampa after the 2008 season. This press conference occurring, and it likely appearing on HBO, appears to show the former coach and his team have made peace.
He coached the Buccaneers from 2002-08. The current “Monday Night Football” color analyst’s first season with the Bucs was obviously his best, with the team dominating his former Raiders squad in Super Bowl XXXVII. He led the Bucs to the playoffs in 2005 and ’07 as well, but a late-season collapse in ’08 led to Gruden’s firing. He became ESPN’s go-to NFL color man soon after.
The Buccaneers have not made it back to the playoffs since, and Gruden could well have some lines about the 2017 team’s chances at breaking that drought. He’s not exactly known for keeping his opinions to himself in his current job.