While most of Panthers coaching candidate Jay Gruden's work has been in the Arena League, those who know him said there's no doubt his skills would translate to the NFL.
The brother of former Oakland and Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden interviewed with the Panthers over the weekend for a job on Ron Rivera's staff, and told co-workers he expects to know something soon.
The younger Gruden has been working in the UFL the last two seasons, and is slated to be the head coach of the Virginia Detroyers if he doesn't end up with a job here. Destroyers GM (and former Tampa Bay and Washington quarterback) Doug Williams said he hasn't talked to Jay Gruden since Friday, when they shared a connecting flight to Charlotte.
"I just texted his brother Jon, and told him if I lose Jay, he needs to come replace his brother," Williams joked.
Never miss a local story.
Williams said while the majority of Jay Gruden's experience has been indoors, he's been impressed with his work in the UFL, along with the time he spent on his brother's Bucs staff.
"I have to disagree with calling him an Arena guy," Williams said. "I've known him and his family a long time, and he's a good football coach. When you look at what he did with the Tuskers (as OC in 2009 and head coach in 2010), and you look at coaches like Jim Fassel, Chris Palmer and Denny Green, he's coached against all of them and won.
"He's comfortable being the coach of the Virginia Destroyers, but just like players, if the opportunity to jump to the NFL is there, you're going to pursue it."
Williams laughed when asked about the personality differences between Jon and Jay, acknowledging that Jon's clearly the character in the family.
"They're obviously two very different people, Jon's more of a polarizing guy," Williams said. "Jon's just ate up with football, and you can see it in his face. Jay's ate up with football too, he just doesn't show it the same way.
"Jon is the radar, but Jay would rather fly under the radar. And you know what, he's pretty good at coaching football too."
-- Darin Gantt