Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden speaks during a press...

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden speaks during a press conference at the NFL Combine, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, in Indianapolis. Credit: AP / Darron Cummings

INDIANAPOLIS — Marshawn Lynch hasn’t publicly indicated whether he’ll be playing in 2018, but Raiders coach Jon Gruden said he wants the enigmatic running back to return.

“Looking at our film, and the game that I broadcast on Christmas night, there’s no question he’s still the Beast that’s hard to bring down,” said Gruden, who stepped down as ESPN’s lead football analyst to take the Raiders’ job he’d iously held before joining the Tampa Bay Bucs. “And one of the reasons I’m excited to be with the Raiders is to join forces with Lynch, but we’ll see what happens. We’ve got to look at our entire roster, but I’m counting on him being a big part of our football team.”

Gruden, who led the Bucs to a Super Bowl title after the 2002 season and later became ESPN’s Monday Night Football commentator, returned to the Raiders after a 10-year hiatus from coaching. He was fired by the Bucs after the 2008 season.

Gruden, 54, said he’s thrilled to be coaching again.

“It’s been really cool,” he said. “Not many people get a chance to go back and do it a second time. It’s a neat story for me. But I want to take advantage of the opportunity, and I know I have a lot to prove.”

Gruden was under consideration to return as the Bucs’ coach, but it was a non-starter. Asked when he dismissed the possibility of taking over again in Tampa, he replied: “When I was fired.”

Gruden said he learned plenty about how NFL teams operate as he traveled the country broadcasting games. He saw many teams increasingly rely on analytics, but suggested he will not remain beholden to the statistics-based approach.

“Man, I’m trying to throw the game back to 1998,” he said. “There’s a stack of analytic data, but people don’t even know how to read it. I’m not going to rely on all the modern technology. I will certainly have some people that are professional that can help me from that regard, but I still think doing things the old-fashioned way is a good way, and we’re going to try to lean the needle that way a little bit.”

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