Jon Gruden has denied the latest round of rumors that he’s returning to a coaching job with either the Tennessee Volunteers or the Cleveland Browns next year in the NFL. The fact is, the Monday Night Football analyst enjoys what he’s currently doing.
Memphis television station WREG fueled the rumors after a report that the former Tampa Bays Buccaneers coach was weighing a Tennessee offer that would give him a piece of the Browns, who are owned by Jimmy Haslam — brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. Their father, Jim Haslam, played on Tennessee’s 1951 national championship team and has donated millions of dollars to the university.
Gruden, a “Monday Night Football” analyst, said Wednesday on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike In The Morning” show that there is “no truth” to the report.
“I like what I’m doing,” said Gruden, who was a graduate assistant with the Volunteers and whose wife, Cindy, is a former Tennessee cheerleader.
“I’m just trying to hang on to the job I have, to be honest with you.”
Browns spokesman Neal Gulkis said the report was inaccurate.
“Jimmy Haslam has no involvement in the University of Tennessee head coaching search, and the report that Jon Gruden would potentially have an ownership stake in the Browns is completely erroneous,” Gulkis said.
Tennessee is seeking to replace Derek Dooley, who was fired Nov. 18 after going 15-21 in three seasons.
Gruden, 49, helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl in the 2002 season. He posted a combined 100-85 record and won five division titles in 11 years as an NFL head coach with the Oakland Raiders (1998-2001) and Tampa Bay (2002-08).
Gruden began his coaching career as a graduate assistant on Johnny Majors’ Tennessee staff in 1986-87, but he hasn’t worked in the college ranks since a one-year stint as Pittsburgh’s wide receivers coach in 1991. His other college experience includes one year as Southeast Missouri State’s passing game coordinator (1988) and one season as the University of Pacific’s wide receivers coach (1989).