Jon Gruden, a man who was a graduate assistant for the Tennessee Volunteers in 1986, and married a Vols cheerleader, may be headed to coach in Knoxville after all.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported on Friday that Gruden is close to accepting Tennessee’s latest offer, citing two sources. The only hold-up in negotiations involves payment of his assistant coaches. There is no time table set for Gruden to either accept or turn down the latest offer.
Friday’s news comes in sharp contrast to a report by GoVols247 in which it was said that Gruden had cancelled a meeting with Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart on Wednesday, and that Gruden was no longer a candidate for the job.
Bob LaMonte, Gruden’s agent, has not returned phone calls or texts on the subject.
Gruden is a former Super Bowl winning coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and has been a color analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football for four seasons now.
Hart was scheduled to leave on either Sunday or Monday for New York City in order to interview potential candidates at the National Football Foundation’s annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony where former Vols coach Phillip Fulmer is being inducted on Tuesday.
Many had expected Gruden to be looking at an NFL return after reportedly turning down the Tennessee job. In his statements, Gruden has remained firm that he is committed to ESPN.
Could this have been a move of strategy on Gruden’s part all along? Whatever the case, it’s obvious that Gruden is Tennessee’s man, and they’re willing to go through some serious negotiations if it means landing him in the end.