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TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 30: Coach Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers directs play against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on November 30, 2008 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
So yesterday came word from the South Florida Sun Sentinel that ESPN analyst Jon Gruden was was being targeted by the University of Miami for their now vacant head coaching gig, and that Gruden was interested in the job. Then a handful of reports came in that Gruden-to-Miami was a done deal. Then those rumors were emphatically debunked by roughly seven million other people, including FanHouse, Peter King, CBS, and half the free world.
For his part, Gruden issued this statement:
I am committed to Monday Night Football and to ESPN. I enjoy working with Mike (Tirico), Jaws (Ron Jaworski) and our entire crew and am just trying to get better at this job.
That’s one of those carefully worded denials that doesn’t really mean much of anything. Gruden could easily bolt MNF at any time (THIS GUY!), and almost certainly will somewhere down the line. I think we’ve all seen enough head coaches lie in our lifetimes (Hi, Nick Saban!) to not believe anything they say publicly about a potential job opening.
Brett McMurphy at FanHouse says that Gruden will only bolt MNF for an NFL head coaching job (a pity, given that he’d probably make a pretty good college coach). The question is: Does Gruden’s supposedly emphatic denial of Miami mean he’s already being courted by certain NFL teams? Might there be a man in Arlington with a stretchy face who’s just itching to throw millions and millions of dollars Gruden’s way?
I am firmly of the belief that Jason Garrett, despite losing on Thanksgiving, has solidified his hold on the head coaching position for the Cowboys, particularly with a lockout looming. I think the Double J would prefer to see Garrett spend the next month emphatically earning this job, rather than fire him and start fresh with a big name who might end up clashing with him. If Gruden does end up going to Miami, or taking some other job, I don’t know that the Cowboys will be “out of the mix” for his services, so to speak. I think, for now, Jerry Jones would very much like to keep what he has intact. Then again, you never know what that ol’ rascal is planning.