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Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coaching Search: Why Jay Gruden Could Become A Candidate

Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was mentioned as a possible candidate to become the Jaguars head coach last year. It could happen against this year.

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week the Jacksonville Jaguars concluded their search for a new General Manager, hiring Atlanta Falcons director of player personnel David Caldwell to replace former Jaguars GM Gene Smith. Within a day Caldwell ended Mike Mularkey's reign as the team's head coach, less than a full calendar year into his program.

In addition to searching for a franchise-level quarterback, it opens the door for aspiring assistants one more opportunity to become a head coach, especially for Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, who is interviewing in Arizona on Thursday. How long will this story last, some of you are probably preaching with annoyance. Who can blame you. Coaches opening predicates the subject, right?

There is some history and maybe even motivation for Gruden to coach in Jacksonville.

This time last year the Jaguars were interested in Jay Gruden, who successfully implemented an entirely new offensive philosophy with a rookie quarterback and without the benefit of an offseason due to the NFL lockout. It peaked people's interest. And despite Gruden reportedly telling Jacksonville that he was interested, no confirmed interview took place and Gruden denied any contact with the Jaguars. Eventually Gruden cited family as his biggest reason for staying with a note that he didn't feel ready to take on the top coaching job.

Gruden has deep ties in Florida, specifically the Orlando region where he spent roughly ten years as either the head coach or the quarterback for the AFL's Orlando Predators, which plays roughly 130-140 miles from Jacksonville. Before being hired by the Cincinnati Bengals as the offensive coordinator, Gruden spent another two seasons as the head coach for the UFL's Florida Tuskers and somewhere along the way he spent another seven seasons on Jon Gruden's staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, two early candidates are 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman and St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.