“You get some people calling maybe to see if you’re interested in coaching again and maybe if you can help recommend a couple of guys,” Gruden said. “I’m pretty much involved with every level of football every day of the week so I try to help if I can and, you know, one of these days who knows, Rich? One of these days, you never know. But I’m just trying to hold onto the job I have, as you know, I don’t have a guaranteed contract.”
Gruden, 54, said he planned on “keeping his options open,” but clarified that his focus was still on contributing to ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast.
Gruden went 57-55 during seven seasons with the Bucs, which included winning the Super Bowl during his first year and winning the NFC South three times.
While it’s likely something he’s said numerous times during his nine seasons in the booth, it’s more notable now as he’s currently rumored to be the odds on favorite to replace Butch Jones — who is still currently employed — as the Vols’ next head coach.
Gruden’s past ties to the Tennessee football program have led Vol fans to believe that the former Super Bowl winning coach could possibly take over on Rocky Top.
Gruden began his career as a graduate assistant with the Vols under Johnny Majors in 1986-87. His wife, Cindy, was a Volunteer cheerleader and, as several Twitter users pointed out, his son apparently attends UT.
The Monday Night Football broadcaster has also referred to the head coaching position at Tennessee as a “dream job” on numerous occasions and expressed interest in coaching again, although he’s also downplayed the notion of coaching at the college level.
Well, he didn’t flat out say, “Yes, I’m going to be Tennessee’s head coach,” but he also didn’t deny it. Take it for what it’s worth. Trust me, Jon Gruden is at least aware of his name being linked to the Tennessee job and a rumored $10 million contract, even if its just speculation. If he wasn’t at least interested, why wouldn’t he denounce the talks by now?
I don’t know. I still think — as a Tennessee fan — that landing Gruden seems too good to be true, especially given the program’s ineptitude over the past decade. But there’s still that little bit of hope.