Anytime there's an NFL coaching vacancy, Jon Gruden's name almost reflexively comes up. It happened again this week when the Texans fired Gary Kubiak and Gruden's current employer, ESPN, was responsible for kick-starting the speculation.
ESPN says Jon Gruden of ESPN is a candidate for the Houston job pic.twitter.com/676yWuVyAJ— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) December 6, 2013
On Sunday, ESPN -- still Gruden's current employer -- reported that, in fact, Gruden has no plans to coach in 2014. Chris Mortensen said (via PFT) the former Raiders and Buccaneers head coach is "not expected" to pursue any opportunities this offseason and has a "strong commitment" to continue working at ESPN where he is the color commentator for Monday Night Football.
Later in the day, Gruden confirmed as much.
"I'm just trying to do my job," he said. "I'm not going to address every little rumor or supposed conversation that takes place, according to these so-called sources. There are a lot of good coaches out there available to coach these teams. I'm just hoping ESPN likes the the job I'm doing. That's my focus."
And even if Gruden did have interest in the Texans job it would still be a long shot.
I said it last night and I'll say this again. Jon Gruden is notorious for wanting "control of the 53" and Rick Smith isn't giving that up— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) December 7, 2013
Meanwhile, CBS NFL Insider Jason La Canfora writes Sunday morning that, "[S]everal league sources maintain [Texans owner Bob McNair ] still has a strong affinity for Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, who himself has strong ties to the city of Houston. Sumlin has agreed to an extension at the college but the extent and amount of his NFL buyout is unknown and McNair could still pursue the coach."
Additionally, Lovie Smith, who has been out of football in 2013, is expected to get an interview for the Texans job, and current Redskins coach Mike Shanahan could be a strong candidate if he's fired in the coming weeks.