It was an exciting week of rumors, speculation and predicting the future, but it seems the ride has come to an end — as expected. According to multiple reports, Jon Gruden has informed the University of Tennessee that he will no be their head coach now or likely ever. Instead, Gruden was using the Vols as leverage to gain a head coaching job in the NFL, something may suspected he was doing all along.
I’m told Gruden’s interest was moderate at best. To me, Gruden just wanted to be wooed, and use the Vols as bait for pro teams.
— mike freeman (@realfreemancbs) November 30, 2012
Our friend Mike Freeman wasn’t the one to break the story, but his commenting on it at the NFL level with such finality only confirms Vols fans fears that Gruden was just using them as a pawn in his evil game all along. According to the original report by Jimmy Hyams stated that the talks between Gruden and Tennessee never got to the point that a contract was even talked about let alone offered.
Jon Gruden is out as UT candidate. Informed UT recently after phone talks last week. UT never offered contract, source said.
— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) November 30, 2012
The next question when it comes to both parties is what’s next?
For Gruden, his interest seems to have always been in the NFL, and while no positions are officially open yet, Gruden will likely have his pick of the litter. Philadelphia, Oakland, San Diego, Carolina, New York and Arizona are all teams that could very well fire their head coaches in the not too distant future, and all are pretty attractive places to make a return to the NFL.
[Related: Chip Kelly met with Philadelphia Eagles GM]
As for Tennessee, athletic director Dave Hart is still searching for a head coach, and he’s expected to be naming a new one in the next two weeks. It’s not like Gruden was the only option for the Vols, but after dangling such an appetizing carrot in front of the fans and boosters, Hart will have to come up with something really good to even come close to making this up.
Not that there’s a ton of pressure, but this just became a coaching search Hart can’t afford to botch.
[Not related but still hilarious: Iron Sheik Thinks David Stern Has Raisin Balls, Wants To Sodomize Cancer]