If Tennessee does land Jon Gruden, it will reportedly need to do so by competing with his former NFL team.
According to the Ringer’s Mike Lombardi, Gruden’s name has been linked to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching job, where he worked from 2002-08 and won a Super Bowl.
The Bucs were predicted by many to be a playoff contender in 2017, but have gone 2-5 in their first seven games. It’s worth noting that Tampa Bay, like Tennessee with Butch Jones, has yet to fire head coach Dirk Koetter, however.
Gruden went 57-55 during seven seasons with the Bucs, which included winning the Super Bowl during his first year and winning the NFC South three times.
During this week’s Monday Night Football broadcast, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden teased a potential return to coaching by saying “boy I miss coaching.”
While it’s likely something he’s said numerous times during his nine seasons in the booth, it’s more notable now as he’s currently rumored to be the odds on favorite to replace Butch Jones as the Vols’ next head coach.
Gruden’s past ties to the Tennessee football program have led Vol fans to believe that the former Super Bowl winning coach could possibly take over on Rocky Top.
Gruden began his career as a graduate assistant with the Vols under Johnny Majors in 1986-87. His wife, Cindy, was a Volunteer cheerleader and, as several Twitter users pointed out, his son apparently attends UT.
The Monday Night Football broadcaster has also referred to the head coaching position at Tennessee as a “dream job” on numerous occasions and expressed interest in coaching again, although he’s also downplayed the notion of coaching at the college level.
However, that could all be outweighed by Gruden’s familiarity with the Bucs job and the fact that he still lives in Tampa. We’ll have to see if either team can entice the coach to leave his comfortable position at ESPN.