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Jaguars have strong interest in Bengals OC Gruden

The Jacksonville Jaguars have contacted Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden about their head coach vacancy, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

Gruden told the Jaguars that while he's interested, he wants to focus on Saturday's AFC Wild Card Game against the Houston Texans. The Jaguars are still expected to bring Gruden in for an interview, but the coach is aware of the risk he is taking in waiting. Gruden was told he's a strong candidate for the opening, according to sources.

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NFL Network's Jason La Canfora and Mike Lombardi reported that the Jaguars have requested permission to interview New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey for the job.

The Florida Times Union reported the Jaguars have interest in Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

Gruden, who has spent the bulk of his professional life in Florida, is viewed as a major influence in Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton's success this season. Gruden would likewise be considered a key asset for Jacksonville, where the development of quarterback Blaine Gabbert is a top priority.

Gruden played quarterback for the Arena League's Orlando Predators and Tampa Bay Storm, and had two stints as Predators head coach (1998-2001, 2004-08), while also serving as an offensive assistant with his brother Jon Gruden's Buccaneers from 2002-08. Jay Gruden became offensive coordinator of the UFL's Florida Tuskers in 2009, and the team's head coach and GM in 2010, before heading to Cincinnati.

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