Well, it sure sounded like fun. Tuesday, it was reported by a Memphis, TN station that the Tennessee Volunteers coaching position was being offered to Jon Gruden , with the caveat that he would receive part ownership in the Cleveland Browns. This rumor was perpetuated by the fact that one of the largest boosters is Browns majority owner, Jimmy Haslam.
Gruden, who was once a graduate assistant at Tennessee, has been attached to the job in Knoxville each time the job has had an opening since Phil Fulmer’s tenure came to an end. Today, while speaking with Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio, Gruden denied the report.
Asked on Mike and Mike in the Morning if there is any truth to the report, Gruden answered, “No, there isn’t.”
“I’m just excited about Monday Night Football,” Gruden said. “I like what I’m doing. I’m just trying to hang on to the job that I have.”
Gruden wasn’t the only one issuing a denial, as the Cleveland Browns released a statement in response to the report as well:
“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,” the statement said.
Neither of these denials seem ambiguous, nor do they leave much to interpret, except for that Gruden isn’t taking the job under these conditions. But until a hire is made that isn’t Gruden, expect to hear him continually being in the running for the job at Tennessee, as well as a host of other job openings in both the college and pro ranks.