For Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, it was a long road to his current post as head coach of the Washington Redskins.
One of the most influential places in Gruden's coaching career was Orlando, where he played and coached for the Arena Football League's Orlando Predators. Unfortunately, Wednesday was a sad day for the Predators as they announced they have suspended operations.
"Yeah, it's a bummer, it is," Gruden said. "It was a fun league. It gave a lot of people a lot of enjoyment over the years, opportunity both playing-wise, coaching-wise. Fans had a great time. It was a very fan friendly league, opened a lot of doors for myself, met a lot of great people, coached a lot of great people, played with a lot of great people, great experience, great place. Sad, sad day for Orlando Predator fans and players, past and present."
Orlando was Gruden's first head coaching gig as he accepted the job in 1998 after playing six seasons with the rival Tampa Bay Storm. Gruden finished with a 93-61 record with two Arena Bowl championships while in charge of the Predators – a job he did while also serving on brother Jon's coaching staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He led Orlando to championships in 1998 and 2000 before returning to the field as Predators quarterback in 2002, completing a career-high 310 passes while throwing for 68 touchdowns. In his career as an AFL quarterback, Gruden threw 398 touchdowns and 99 interceptions. He was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 1999 and was named the No. 4 greatest AFL player by arenafootball.com.
(Photo credit: Orlando Sentinel)