The Carolina Panthers rarely find themselves entrenched in the rumor mill this time of the year, but that all changed today when CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora made it clear on Charlotte’s 610AM The Drive With Taylor Zarzour and Marc James that according to people close to Jon Gruden, he was most “excited” about the Panthers’ head coaching job if it were to become available.
Of course, team owner Jerry Richardson made the right call in retaining Ron Rivera as head coach for a third season, so none of this news really matters….right?
The fact is that this news does matter. Panthers fans should be ecstatic in the sense that a big-timer such as Gruden would consider coming to Carolina over franchises like the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
However, there is a catch to all of this and one that sheds a little light on as to why Richardson waited six days to inform Rivera that he would be staying on board.
La Canfora also indicated on the air that Gruden would have wanted the keys to the franchise; meaning not only would Gruden be the head coach, but GM as well making all of the player personnel decisions.
If that’s the case, then one could see why Richardson might have pondered the possibility given the Panthers needed a new GM at the time as well. Although, at the same time pondering the fact that it’s not always a slam-dunk when you give a head coach, no matter how big the name, that kind of power.
All serious considerations that have been put to rest for now.
As I have suggested in the past, Carolina would be the perfect destination for Gruden to make a return into coaching. The obvious reasons being, the opportunity to coach a young dynamic quarterback and return home to the NFC South where he could enact some revenge on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
So, this story does matter for Panthers fans because at the very least it’s reassuring to know the team is trending in the right direction.
Robert Kester, Rant Sports Carolina Panthers Columnist. Contact @robertkester1