Gruden reportedly out as Tennessee candidate

The thought of Jon Gruden in the SEC was captivating, but that’s all it really ever was going to be: a thought.

The Gruden rumors are starting to take a toll on the fan base, because neither Gruden or the university have made any announcement publicly excluding him from the immediate job search. So, the rumors were and are still rampant.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Gruden was offered a partial ownership stake of the Cleveland Browns. Gruden and the Browns both shot that rumor down quickly.

Overnight, it was reported by the Chattanooga Times Press that Gruden had a lucrative offer, but the holdup between the two parties was the salaries of the assistant coaches.

However, according to Jimmy Hyams of WNML radio in Knoxville, Gruden is out as a candidate, and there was no offer ever made, and no face-to-face interview was conducted. He told Tennessee, ‘thanks, but no thanks’. He basically used the propaganda at Tennessee as leverage for NFL jobs.

Hyams is a strong reporter who has been wrong before, but the likelihood of Gruden returning to college is very minimal ever, even at Tennessee. Why would Gruden return to college when multiple NFL jobs will be open if he’s interested in coaching again? Do you think he wants to recruit 16-, 17- and 18-year-old kids to run his complex offense and deal with boosters? Do you think he wanted to take over a back-to-back 5-7 program with a major rebuilding process ahead of him?

Tennessee, much like Arkansas, needs to pursue realistic candidates now that the big fish has said no. Coaches like Charlie Strong, Jimbo Fisher, Gary Patterson and even Larry Fedora are a great place to start.

UT AD Dave Hart will continue to interview candidates in New York next week.

Photo Credit: Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE