Jon Gruden acknowledged his candidacy for the Raiders head coaching job Tuesday in a phone interview with the Bay Area News Group. “My understanding is they’re interviewing candidates this week and they’re going to let everybody know sometime early next week or whenever they make their decision,” Gruden said. Asked specifically if he was a candidate, Gruden said, “Well, I think I am being considered, yes. I hope I’m a candidate.” Gruden last coached in 2008 for the Tampa Bay Bucceneers and has rejected overtures each year to return. It has been almost 20 years that Gruden was hired on Jan. 8, 1998 to be head coach of the Raiders, for whom he coached through the 2001 season. Since being fired by the Bucs, Gruden has worked as a television analyst, working on ESPN’s Monday Night Football as well as hosting a series on prospective NFL quarterbacks. He will work Saturday’s NFL wild card game between the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Raiders abruptly fired coach Jack Del Rio Sunday one year into a four-year contract extension following a 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Sunday in Carson. Gruden’s candidacy was first reported by ESPN, and he didn’t confirm or deny it in a Bay Area News Group interview Saturday night. His confirmation Tuesday is the first public acknowledgment that he could return to the place where he started his head coaching career as the NFL’s youngest head coach at age 34.