Jon Gruden: Is Tennessee out of the picture?

November 28, 2012

It’s “Will Chucky return to the sidelines” season. (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

It’s that time of year, when Jon Gruden’s name is mentioned in connection with every conceivable coaching opportunity on the college and NFL fronts.

This one, though, may be the mother of all Gruden reports.

On Tuesday, WREG in Memphis reported that Gruden had been offered the University of Tennessee job, with the sweet little plum of part ownership of the Cleveland Browns included in the deal. Gruden, ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” analyst, shot that down, as did the Cleveland Browns.

Asked on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” if there was any truth to the report, Gruden said: “No, there isn’t.”

Gruden, an Ohio native who said last summer that he’d return to coaching if the job were right, said he’s focusing on “MNF,” the gig he has had since 2009.

“I’m just excited about ‘Monday Night Football,’” he said. “I like what I’m doing. I’m just trying to hang on to the job that I have.”

The UT dots are deliciously connectable, if only there weren’t some pesky NCAA rules in the way. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is the brother of Tennessee’s governor and their father played on the Vols’ 1951 national championship team.

“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 team said in a statement (via the Plain Dealer).

All of which, of course, means that, like Chucky, this thing just won’t die. CBS’s Mike Freeman reports:

An NFL job? There should be plenty of openings to link him to there soon enough.

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

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After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren · November 28, 2012