Just heard it on the,radio here in memphis on one of the local talk show host John Rainey "The Rainman" his reliable source told him that the day after the vols-miss st game an offer of was made to gruden of $30 mil over 6 yrs and gruden wanted less yrs and more money, so tenn offered 4yrs and the same $30mil over 4 yrs and he accepted the offer and it will be announced soon after the Kentucky game? Now it's all settled and everyone can start looking elsewhere!! Now who do my HOGS hire? dayum lol
Well, let’s just start the day with the latest on Jon Gruden — the great white whale of college football fans everywhere. There’s a reason we’ve used the photo we doctored up at left for the past few seasons. Every fall Gruden’s name gets tied to numerous college football jobs and every season he winds up back in the ESPN broadcast booth.
But now that the Glazer family is no longer having to write him checks to not coach their Tampa Bay Buccaneers perhaps he really is ready to head back to the sidelines. For weeks, Arkansas and Tennessee fans have been claiming on talk radio, on messageboards, and in emails to this and (we suspect) other sites that Gruden has already agreed to coach their beloved school. His family has checked out schools and homes in those areas. He’s been spotted in Fayetteville and in Knoxville (though no one can manage to get a clear photo of him or his family in this world filled with cell phone cameras).
Yesterday, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports kicked the Gruden talk into overdrive. In his report he stated that:
* Both Arkansas and Tennessee are chasing Gruden.
* “The Razorbacks are prepared to make their next coach the highest-paid in the SEC, according to sources close to the program, and budget will not be an issue.”
* “Browns owner Jimmy Haslam — a billionaire booster for the Volunteers, whose brother Bill, just happens to be the governor of Tennessee — has told several people that he loves Gruden and believes he would be a great fit at the school.”
* “League sources” have said Gruden has called a number of potential assistant coaches “with his focus seeming more on the college game, asking questions of those potential staffers about recruiting and issues that do not related to pro football.”
* Raheem Morris — the man who replaced Gruden in Tampa — would be strongly considered for any defensive coordinator job Gruden might have to fill in 2013.
Impressive. Of course, there’s nothing new there. It’s all packaged neatly in one spot, but you can find those very same factoids all over the web from messageboards to blogs to Bleacher Report.
Still, let’s tackle the issue of an Arkansas-Tennessee bidding war. If Gruden and his agent, Bob LaMonte, are simply looking for the most cash, that’ll come from Arkansas. New UT athletic director Dave Hart has repeatedly stated — including yesterday while announcing Derek Dooley’s firing — that his school has serious financial issues with less revenue coming in and huge debt sitting on the books. UA athletic director Jeff Long doesn’t have to worry much about debt-ratios. Unlike Tennessee with Dooley and his aides, Arkansas didn’t have to buy out Bobby Petrino this past spring. Plus, while Tennessee has Haslam money from Pilot Travel Centers, Arkansas has the resources of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, the Walton family (Walmart) and Tyson Foods to call on if needed.
While Haslam could be interested in Gruden for the Vols or Browns, Jones could be interested in Gruden for the Razorbacks or Cowboys (though he’s supposedly still lovey-dovey with current coach Jason Garrett).
If Gruden is looking for family connections and personal history, then Tennessee would seemingly have the advantage over Arkansas. As even isolated South American tribes now know, Gruden served as a GA at UT in the mid-80s, met his bride to be there (a Vol cheerleader), and the missus still has family in East Tennessee. If blood is thicker than money, then the Volunteers have the edge.
As for where he’ll coach next year if he does return, it should not be a surprise that he’s asking coaches about the college game. He hasn’t been in the college game in 20 years. He knows the NFL. And we’ve been told that several of his former Buccaneer assistants are simply waiting for the phone call that puts the band back together, so to speak.
While Gruden’s calls regarding the college game will be taken by Arkansas and Tennessee fans as a sure sign that he’s headed to one of those campuses or the other, it could be that the buttoned-up Gruden is simply prepping himself for whatever winds up being the best offer. He knows the pro game and talks to pro assistants every week. He’s got a staff of ex-Buc coaches to bring together again in the NFL. So why talk to other coaches about the college game just in case no NFL teams comes calling (which is doubtful)?
Unlike Nick Saban and Steve Spurrier, Gruden has been a pro coach rather than a college coach. For that reason, we’re still skeptical that he’ll wind up in Fayetteville or Knoxville. Not saying it won’t happen, just that we’re skeptical.
As we wrote last week, coaches tend to head back to what they know. Whether that was Pete Carroll heading back to the NFL or Saban and Spurrier returning to the college ranks. If Gruden decides to leave the broadcast booth, it seems more likely he’d return to the pro game that he knows and loves.
Either way, once again he and his agent have played things perfectly. Two schools are reportedly set to chase him with wallets open. One or more NFL owners will probably do likewise. Which means it’s business as usual this fall for Gruden. Each November at this time he becomes the only thing in America more popular than turkey.
Well, played Team Gruden. Well played.
And speaking of turkeys, Arkansas and Tennessee fans are trying to aid their schools with their musical skills. Yikes