And the Gruden rumors just keep on coming.
Last night, KTHV-TV in Fayetteville reported that Jon Gruden has been officially offered the Arkansas head coaching position. This follows a report by CBS Sports on Sunday that the Razorbacks are prepared to make Gruden the highest-paid coach in the SEC. Gruden is also reportedly the top choice at Tennessee.
Jim Harris of KTHV said that he believes the odds of the NFL broadcaster and ex-NFL coach taking the job are “one in 10 or even one in 20.” According to Harris’ sources, Gruden may have shown a slight interest in the job, while “Arkansas is swinging for the fences and making an offer.”
Harris and the station did not reveal details of the Arkansas’ offer to Gruden.
It’s believed by most that if Gruden were to return to the sidelines it would be in the NFL. He hasn’t coached in the college game in two decades and he has never served as a college head coach. NFL reporters like Chris Mortensen — a colleague at ESPN — and Jason La Canfora of CBS have said Gruden’s most likely destination in the college ranks would be Tennessee… if he chooses to coach again and if he picks the college game over the pro game. Gruden’s wife is an ex-UT cheerleader who still has family in the Knoxville area.
So what do we really know about all the Gruden talk emanating from the Smokies and the Ozarks? Only that Gruden and his agent have expertly played everyone once again. Whether it’s at Arkansas, Tennessee, the NFL or ESPN, Gruden will stand to make more cash next year than he’s making now thanks to all the interest. If you could buy stock in a guy, Gruden would be the guy to invest in.
For now, ESPN says only that “Jon remains committed to ESPN.” Mike Tirico, Gruden’s broadcast partner, won’t comment. But there’s already speculation that Steve Young or Trent Dilfer could step into broadcast booth should Gruden depart.