Hopefully, this will be the last time we write about Jon Gruden in connection to a college job this season. Or ever, quite frankly.
As you have no doubt heard by now, multiple media outlets reported Friday morning that Jon Gruden was no longer interested in pursuing the Tennessee job. While one paper in the state claimed late last night that a very lucrative offer was on the table for the ESPN NFL analyst, subsequent reports stated that no offer had been made, formal or otherwise.
All the while, Bob LaMonte, agent-to-the-coaching-stars whose client list includes Gruden, had remained silent as the speculation grew to a near-fever pitch in and around Knoxville the past few weeks. That silence evaporated in an illuminating conversation with the Knoxville News Sentinel‘s Evan Woodbery.
In that talk, LaMonte labeled the speculation surrounding his client when it came to the Vols opening as “just a fantasy world.” LaMonte also claimed that this morning was the first time he had spoken to UT athletic director Dave Hart… ever.
“He just said there had been a lot of rumors and he just wanted to clear the air,” LaMonte said in relating his conversation with the man charged with finding a replacement for Derek Dooley. “I said, ‘Thank you for the call. I appreciate it.’ He said thank you and that was it. …
“I don’t know Dave Hart. I’d never met him or talked to him.”
Before anyone mentions boosters or others loosely connected to UT, LaMonte added that this morning “was the only time I talked to anyone from Tennessee.” You can determine the size of the grain salt with which to take that claim.
As for Gruden’s future? “Jon has made it clear he’s committed to ESPN,” the agent said.
Until the NFL version of the coaching carousel begins to spin, of course.