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December 18, 2013

Source: Gruden would consider Texas job

Orangebloods.com has learned through a high-level source that former Super Bowl champion head coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden is open to hearing from the Texas athletic department about its football head coaching vacancy.

Gruden, 50, last coached in the NFL in 2008 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before moving into the broadcast booth for Monday Night Football in 2009. Gruden helped lead the Buccaneers to the franchise's only Super Bowl win when he defeated the Oakland Raiders in 2002. Over the last few years, Gruden's name has often been mentioned in high-profile coaching openings at both the NFL and NCAA level. And he has received "feelers" from numerous major programs and clubs that have gone unreported.

Although Gruden has flourished in broadcasting with ESPN, our source said the Texas job is one of the few offers that Gruden would consider, claiming that the Super Bowl-winning coach views the position as one the few "premiere" coaching jobs.

"It's Austin," the source said of Gruden's interest. "It's not like any other city in Texas, or anywhere, really. It's a destination, but with the state capitol, the university, the politics and the media, it's the eye of a hurricane.

"(James) Franklin, (Jim) Mora, they are great coaches - but stepping into this sort of situation for the first time? You're going to have limited success."


The source said Texas was on this very short list because of the city of Austin, the situation and "just the overall fit." Gruden's obvious experience and comfort with the media would be an asset to the Longhorn Network. His coaching skills, work ethic and over-reaching leadership accolades need no real support or backing up.

As of Tuesday evening, this high-level of source told Orangebloods.com Gruden has not been contacted by the University of Texas, while people who Gruden mentored, like the seemingly unattainable Mike Tomlin, have been mentioned prominently atop several wish lists. When asked if Gruden's interest in the position could be directly related to using the situation as a bargaining ploy to earn more money at ESPN, the source scoffed.

"It's no secret that every major position that comes open stirs Gruden rumors," the source said. "The reason why the talks never go anywhere is because there are definitely two, maybe three, situations he's always said he would have to listen to. When Texas calls, you gotta listen. At some point, well, the bottom line is - there are only a few places where everything just fits."

With the resignation of long-time head coaching icon Mack Brown over the weekend, there has been discussion about the size of the fish that the Longhorns will be able to land as Brown's replacement. If the Longhorns decide to test the waters with the coveted Gruden, they'll find themselves in discussions with one of the few names available that offer even more star-power in the living rooms of elite-level prospects than the departing coach.

"Every kid in Texas and their families equate Jon Gruden with football," the source said. "As a coach, as the host of MNF, all the ESPN stuff, he's larger than life."


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