By Josh Katzowitz
Rumors have been swirling the past few weeks that Jon Gruden will leave ESPN’s Monday Night Football set and return to the sidelines to coach in 2012.
Two of Mike Freeman’s sources told him recently that Gruden is indeed leaning toward coaching next season. As Freeman wrote, “Some of this might be semantics. I'm told Gruden wants to see what positions he could possibly get before making a 100 percent final decision and that he hasn't officially made one yet because of the uncertainty … And while I fully expect Gruden to issue a statement with some sort of non-denial/denial saying he's happy at ESPN, he's eyeing a return.”
And now we’ve got that non-denial/denial saying he’s happy at ESPN.
"I love my job and I'll be back at ESPN with the guys,'' Gruden told the Tampa Tribune. "I'm not going anywhere.”
The hottest rumor states that, assuming A.J. Smith is fired as general manager by the Chargers, the Rams will hire him and Gruden to help turn around that franchise. We’ve even got to the point of wondering whether Smith and Gruden would prefer Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck at quarterback instead of Sam Bradford. Not so fast, Gruden said.
"I enjoy being with our ESPN team,'' Gruden said. "I'm staying put.”
But be advised to be wary of whatever Gruden says. After all, if you listen to former VP of officiating Mike Pereira, Gruden is a blowhard, and even more damning than that is when Gruden’s former quarterback, Shaun King, called him "inherently dishonest.”
Which means, I guess, that we still have no idea what Gruden ultimately wants. And probably won’t until the Rams (or some other squad) ultimately are in need of a new coach.
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