Raheem Morris was 26 years old when he got his first NFL coaching job as a defensive assistant under new head coach Jon Gruden. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rode an all-time defensive performance to three dominant playoff wins, capturing their first Super Bowl championship in franchise history, and cementing Hall of Fame status for several starters on defense. It was a perfect career start for Morris, who would eventually replace Gruden as Tampa Bay’s head coach, and now 22 years later the two could meet again.
As rivals for the same job.
Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, who has a great reputation when it comes to Raiders scoops, mentioned Morris along with several other head coaching candidates who could make sense or already have connections with the franchise as they search for their next head coach. Alongside Morris, and most shocking of all by far, was a third tour of duty for Jon Gruden.
From Antonio Pierce to Jim Harbaugh to Ben Johnson to (maybe) Jon Gruden, the @Raiders will have no shortage of head coach options. A look at some of the names already being bandied about: https://t.co/RymRZU6UVp— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) December 1, 2023
The Raiders fired Gruden in 2021 following a scandal in which he was accused of writing offensive e-mails, a termination that the former head coach is still fighting in court. The team hired Josh McDaniels in 2022 and that relationship didn’t last two years. It is assumed that hiring Gruden back could mend fences and end the lawsuit.
It’s not the first time that Morris has been listed as a great candidate for the Raiders. As our own Blaine Grisak wrote in November, The Athletic put Morris on a list of 10 ideal candidates.
The Raiders are currently being coached by interim head coach Antonio Pierce and he has gone 2-3 at the helm. But Las Vegas didn’t keep interim Rich Bisaccia after he went 7-5 as the interim in 2021, so a wide search is to be expected. Morris is having perhaps his best season as a defensive coordinator, if not as a coach in general, because he was handed a defense with no stars other than Aaron Donald and they’ve helped keep L.A. in the playoff hunt.
As the Bucs head coach, Morris went 17-31 in three seasons, going 10-6 in 2010. He went 4-7 as the interim head coach for the Falcons in 2020, after Atlanta fired Dan Quinn, now the defensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys and certainly also a person under consideration for all open head coaching gigs next year.
What’s better than one mentor as competition? Two mentors as competition.