Another day, another rumor about Jon Gruden coming to Tennessee. You should probably get used to that, though you probably already are. If you need a refresher, read our Grumors timeline.
The fire around Gruden grew much larger today when John Brice reported that the situation between the former Super Bowl winning coach and Tennessee was very real. He went so far to say that Gruden had contacted other coaches about joining him in Knoxville.
Brice has worked for 247 sports and other outlets in the past if you were wondering about his legitimacy. He’s a guy that’s usually in the know.
Here’s the full quote.
The overtures to Jon Gruden, a Super Bowl champion coach, the NFL’s most recognizable broadcast voice and one-time UT assistant coach in the 1980s, are very real and much further along than at any point in any of Tennessee’s previous courtships to the mega-star football mind.
Six different sources, ranging from current coaches to former all-time great Vols to college administrators, in the past 72-96 hours tell me that Gruden is far more seriously considering this Tennessee offer than ever before; so much so that Gruden is making some preliminary calls to coaches and other college athletics folks about potentially joining him in Knoxville.
Brice also noted that money would not be an issue. He also notes that Gruden will take his third trip to Knoxville in the past few weeks next weekend.
Ultimately Gruden must not only choose to say yes but sign his name to a contract that makes it official. Next weekend he is allegedly on the verge of his third trip to Knoxville within the past few weeks in between his Monday Night Football obligations for ESPN, which pays Gruden approximately $6 million annually as its top NFL on-air personality.
Brice says that the backup plans for Tennessee include Dan Mullen, Scott Frost, Willie Taggart, Jeremy Pruitt (!) and Mike Norvell.
At this point, I don’t think you can deny Tennessee’s interest in Gruden. It all comes back to whether or not Gruden wants to leave ESPN. That’s a cushy job he’s got, but the fire to coach again does appear to be there. Again — we just don’t know if that leads him to Knoxville.
If he makes it be known that he wants to coach, he’d likely have his suitors in the NFL. There has already been some smoke around him and the Browns.
I’m still very much in the “I’ll believe it when I see it” camp on Gruden, but you can’t deny that the program is in a much better spot now than it was in 2012. The academic situation is much improved, the talent on the roster is in a much better place — if this is ever going to happen, the time is now for Gruden.
If you need more legitimacy, check out this comment from Jesse Simonton of Volquest.
. @JesseReSimonton says Gruden is a legit candidate. He calls it “the most public courting in the country.” The question he asks, does Gruden really want to dive into being a college football coach with all of the work that that entails.— 3HL (@3HL1045) November 13, 2017