Marvin Lewis and Jay Gruden are members of a relatively small fraternity of professional football coaches. They have common friends and have had common co-workers; but their paths never crossed until the former interviewed the latter for the Bengals offensive coordinator position.

Of course, Gruden's coaching path rarely followed the straight and narrow.

The 43-year-old, who was introduced as the newest member of the Bengals staff Thursday, has a resume that reads like a Quentin Tarantino screenplay. He's been a college football standout and an indoor football legend. He's retired, un-retired and re-retired. He stepped down to resume his playing career, then stepped up when tragedy struck. He's been in the trenches and in the front office. He's won a Super Bowl and six ArenaBowls, all the while with an eye toward offense.

"Coaching people know what he's done and how he's gone about it," Lewis said Thursday.

"He's made some decisions, based on his family, not to be nomadic like most coaches, and kind of stay in one spot. But now he feels like it's time. His boys are old enough and ready to do this. It's a now-or-never kind of thing for him."

Gruden was born in Tiffin, Ohio, and raised in Tampa, Fla. He was a three-year starter at quarterback for Louisville from 1985-88. He finished his career as the school's career leader in passing yards, completions and touchdowns.