Gruden reportedly offered ownership of the Browns to become Vols’ next coach

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College football is out of control. We have athletic directors going on spending sprees, making the wrong hires and blowing money in epic proportions. Gene Chizik will be sitting on a beach somewhere rewarded for finishing 3-9 with his $7.5 million buyout, and Derek Dooley will be sitting right beside him licking the salt off his tall margarita.

Then we have this: according to a report from WREG-TV, Tennessee has not only offered the head coaching job to Jon Gruden, but boosters have also reportedly offered him a partial ownership stake in the Cleveland Browns, too, in an attempt to lure him to Tennessee.

Knoxville, TN-News Channel 3 has learned former NFL coach Jon Gruden has a contract offer in hand from the University of Tennessee and a decision could be made as early as Wednesday. Part of the offer is Gruden getting a piece of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, who were recently bought by Jim Haslam, one of UT’s biggest boosters who played on the Vols’ national championship teams in the early fifties. He’s also the father of Tennessee governor Bill Haslam. A potential hangup could be over money Gruden may be owed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from his stint as head coach there that ended in 2008. The NFL is looking into the conflict of owning part of one team while getting money from another. Gruden is currently working as an NFL analyst for ESPN. He started his coaching career in 1986 as a graduate assistant at Tennessee where he met his wife, a former UT cheerleader. Gruden’s two head coaching stints in the NFL were with Oakland and Tampa Bay. He coached the Bucs to a Super Bowl win in the 2002 season.

You can’t make this stuff up.  Crazy?  Probably. Who knows if it is true or not, but WREG-TV better have a damn good source for this type of information.

UPDATED: Gruden appeared on Mike and Mike on ESPN radio, and he denied the report on the rumors. But he didn’t shoot down the Tennessee head coaching job in general.

“I’m just trying to focus on keeping the job I have,” Gruden told the ESPN hosts.

Photo Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

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