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Gruden's Raiders, 4 others begin offseason workouts

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Five NFL teams with new head coaches open Phase 1 of offseason workouts today: Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans.

The quintet joins the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears, who began their program last week. The rest of the league kicks off their workouts April 16.

Phase 1 of the offseason program spans two weeks, and limits activities to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. Lions, Colts, Giants, Raiders and Titans players will begin working out at the team facility, and not much else for the next two weeks. Phase 1 is voluntary for players.

The fivesome includes three first-time head coaches, Matt Patricia (Detroit), Frank Reich (Indy), and Mike Vrabel (Tennessee), and two men returning to the top job, Pat Shurmur (New York), and Jon Gruden (Oakland).

For Gruden, his ballyhooed return to the sideline begins with today's workouts. Given this is little more than supervised workouts, the fiery coach isn't going to begin his tenure with a big speech or hoopla.

"There's no reason to make a bunch of crazy speeches in April," Gruden told the Bay Area News Group on Sunday. "We're going to try and get 'em organized and start to build some relationships with each other and start to teach."

The former Super Bowl Champion coach has lamented the current offseason schedule, which changed under the collective bargaining agreement since he last patrolled the sideline, but is ready to ease his new players into the routine.

"They're going to spend most of the this week -- three hours a day -- with strength and conditioning coaches, and they'll spend one hour with their position coaches, starting to get into the scheme," Gruden said. "This first week is pretty much going to get them acclimating to getting stronger, getting faster, getting into the best shape they can be in and build relationships with the strength and conditioning staff.

"Then they'll be with their new position coaches as they start to learn the offense, the defense and the special teams."

Gruden spent the past nine NFL seasons in a TV booth. The last game he coached was Dec. 28, 2008.

I'm really excited," Gruden said. "It's been a long time. We've been here preparing for this day for so long. It will be limited, but we'll put the boat in the water and it will be fun."

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