Is Jon Gruden really making a return to the NFL sidelines? Another football season is upon us and you know what that means - cooler nights, shorter days and rumors of Jon Gruden leaving his NFL analyst job and hitting the sidelines once again. Gruden has been one of the most sought-after and highly publicized retired coaches rumored to make an NFL comeback over the past decade. In the past, Gruden would quickly shoot down the theory that he was ready to come back to the sidelines and once again lead a team in hopes of capturing another Super Bowl championship.

However, this time where there is a little bit of smoke there certainly looks like there could be some fire.

Gruden says he is preparing for an NFL return

According to a USA Today report, the former NFL coach has admitted recently that he has met with several people and discussed not if, but when he would return to the sidelines. Gruden is reportedly “preparing himself everyday for a comeback.” What that exactly means is anyone's guess, however, when a former head coach who is known for his intensity and passion of the game makes those kinds of statements, one has to believe that he has the desire to once again lead a team.

Since walking away from the game as a head coach, Gruden has become one of the most popular figures on television as one of ESPN's Monday Night Football analysts.

It may be hard to believe, but Gruden has already been calling games on television almost as long as he was coaching them!

Gruden will be entering his ninth season as a football analyst for ESPN this fall. He spent 11 years roaming the sidelines as an NFL head coach. The first four seasons Gruden coached the Oakland Raiders before he spent the next seven campaigns with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Over his 11 year span, Gruden racked up a record of 95-81, but his biggest accomplishment had to be winning the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002.

Like a storybook ending, Gruden led the Bucs to a 48-21 lopsided victory in Super Bowl 37 over the team he had coached the previous four seasons, the Oakland Raiders.

If Gruden is coming back, it may be as early as 2018

Jon Gruden is a “wear your heart on your sleeve” type of guy. He pulls no punches and if you have ever watched any NFL films on him, you know he says whatever he is thinking.

Gruden will be 54 this August, so if he really is planning a return to the gridiron, it will happen soon.

Now the question is, would Gruden return to the NFL or take on a college position? One thing is for sure when it comes to Jon Gruden - if and when he makes it official that he would love to coach again, his phone will be ringing quite a bit from both the pro and college levels.