Freudian slip from Gruden

So on the same day that ESPN’s Jon Gruden supposedly put to rest the notion that he’s not committed to broadcasting, he let slip a remark that serves only to confirm the inevitability of his return to coaching.

Commenting on the intent of Ravens safety Ed Reed to become a secondary coach after retiring from the game, Gruden said bluntly, “I’ll hire him.”

In contrast, ESPN exec Norby Williamson told Richard Deitsch of on Monday that Gruden will be with ESPN in 2010, 2011, and apparently beyond.

“For the immediate future, for the next few years, he is not going to entertain coaching inquiries,” Williamson said of Gruden.

But still the question remains whether ESPN has a binding contractual term preventing Gruden from taking a coaching job, or whether they’re simply taking him at his word.  (And if they’re taking Gruden at his word, we hope they called the folks at NFLN to see if his word can be trusted.  Or some of his former players in Tampa.)

Then there’s the reality that, even if he’s contractually prevented from taking a coaching job, ESPN probably would be reluctant to keep Gruden against his wishes, if he develops the urge to return to the game.  As a result, one league insider speculated today that perhaps the contract extension was aimed at keeping Gruden from taking another broadcasting job for 2010, if he initially signed only a one-year contract with ESPN.

Still, our suspicion is that ESPN was getting heat from teams scheduled to play on Monday night regarding the disclosure of state secrets in Gruden’s presence, if he might be coaching a rival team in less than two months.  As a result, ESPN and Gruden had to do something to kill rumors that Gruden’s Jonny Gumdrop routine is part of a ploy to burn no bridges to potentially interested NFL franchises.

Meanwhile, we’ll be interested to see whether Gruden uses his new deal — and the juice that comes with it — to make a subtle move to oust colleague Ron Jaworski.  We’ve detected real tension between Gruden and Jaworski at times this year, including tonight an exchange regarding the Pats-Colts game that culminated in an awkward moment reminiscent of the “Funny how?” scene from Goodfellas.

39 responses to “Freudian slip from Gruden

  1. Still, our suspicion is that ESPN was getting heat from teams scheduled to play on Monday night regarding the disclosure of state secrets in Gruden’s presence, if he might be coaching a rival team in less than two months.
    That’s one of the most idiotic theories I’ve heard about anything, ever.

  2. It happened again tonight and it seems it happens every game. Jaws saying that very few qb’s could make a certain pass that Flako (sp) made, every Sunday some play by play or color man makes the same statement about some qb. It seems that every pass completed can only be done by a handful. Please give that a rest.

  3. Florio, seriously, who f***ing cares? Let it go. If Gruden comes back, he comes back. It’s not like he’s John Elway or Joe Montana and has a huge fanbase waiting anxiously for him to return. It won’t make a damn bit of difference in any football fan’s life if he stays in the both next year. Not even yours, Florio.

  4. It’s quite clear you’ve grown a massive head since you’ve joined NBC but let’s get one thing straight: you aren’t fit to strap Gruden’s sandals when it comes to the NFL.
    Gruden knows more about the NFL than you can ever dream to aspire to Florio so quit with the snarky BS, it’s unbecoming of a NBC talking head.

  5. “We’ve detected real tension between Gruden and Jaworski at times this year”
    You usually stretch, but wow… this is pathetic even for you Florio.
    You should start your own gossip-style NFL TV show like TMZ.

  6. jaws is a jackass and the grud is awesome so it doesn’t surprise me that there’s tension beyond the fake wildcat beef but i don’t remember the funny how moment… is there a link anywhere?

  7. gopher, i agree with you in principle but in that specific reference pennington/orton couldn’t throw a deep comeback from their back foot like flacco did without it being a pick 6… actually i’m trying to think of other starting qbs that couldn’t and drawing a blank… smith might have trouble making that throw… bulger… you see what i mean.

  8. Hey Gopher: I heard this comment (with all the bs thrown out from the booth it might not be the same one) but the one I heard was from Gruden when Flacco threw a 15 yard out that was caught 6 inches off the ground and Gruden said very few qb’s in the NFL could make that throw. What a bunch of bs.

  9. gruden doesnt stop talking . he doesnt say anything important just stuff like “he’s a really good football player” over and over and over . i know he’s new but someone has to tell him to relax . jaws is one of the best analyt’s in the game and he cant get a word in . wouldnt be shocked to see him leave when his contract is up and head over to the nfl network and take over for millen.
    either way the 2 worst things about football on game day is the pre-game shows(espcially fox which is unwatchable) and the constant chattering in the booths . former players and coaches with little experiance in annoucing have brought the viewing of games down just like the mediocre product on the field. and dont get me started on the refs!….

  10. Gruden talks in that manner with everything. He refers to every player as if he were the coach. He uses me or I when he talks about the moves a GM would make.
    His whole style or apeal is that he talks as if he were your coach.
    I don’t think he is slipping up or saying anything more than he want to.

  11. Gruden heaps so much praise every time he opens his mouth, what happened to the fire, the grit, the edginess of Chucky? He’s too in love with everyone now.
    That whole ESPN broadcast crew is a huge pile of kissass. Everyone is a “special player” or “this guy has a motor that never stops” or “nobody throws a better out and up than Joe Flacco”
    It’s all a big sugar pop cavity fest of pats on the back, every Monday night now.

  12. Jaws and Gruden are both good. Incredible that ESPN has the best announcing crew in the NFL right now.
    What happened to the days of Tony Kornheiser, Paul Maguire, Joe Theismann and Mike “AREYOUKIDDINGME!!!” Patrick?

  13. Florio,
    You’ve written several and extensive posts on Gruden now, from linking him to jobs (which he denied, which you claimed were strong enough, when they got shermanesque, you still refused them, implying that no denial, no matter how strong, would be believed by you), and other articles on him…
    Is there a personal grudge you have against him, for any particular reason ?
    I’m not saying this because I like or dislike Gruden, but you write about him more then some other football figures, either coaches or broadcasters, and if you look over your own archives, you’ll notice the disparity in the coverage given to him.
    Is there any reason why ? and also, why is the coverage you give Gruden, more speculative then anything else (i.e. less sourced, either by rumor or report) ?

  14. I’m glad you’re nailing Gruden, Florio.
    I have a very low opinion of him, based on how he bailed on his responsibilities as a broadcaster for the Redskins game. He basically auditioned for the coaching job on air.
    Anything else he said was in defense of his geriatric coaching buddy, Sherm Lewis. Not a single critical word about the way Snyder has been running the organization.
    I now see that Gruden is a shill, a slimy sort. He stands in stark contrast to another n00b broadcaster, a man who embodies integrity, Tony Dungy.

  15. So what I’ve heard is that Gruden was offered a deal by ESPN that will pay him money similar to what he would make as a head coach in the NFL. Really?
    What is that, like 4-5 million a year? For being the 3rd man in the booth of a football telecast?
    Do people really pay that much attention to who the freaking announcers are? It’s not like when I call up my friends and ask “Hey, are you watching the game?” they respond with “I don’t know, who’s announcing it?”. No. The reply is “Who’s playing?”
    The actual teams that are playing is what matters. I have a hard time believing that people worry so much about who is the dam announcer that ESPN would decide it is worthwhile to pay Gruden several millions a year for his easily replaceable services.

  16. jd713
    “jaws is one of the best analyt’s in the game and he cant get a word in .”
    He is so good that he often picks different teams to win the same game on different shows. Jaws is everything that is wrong with ESPN.

  17. I agree with jd713 on his comment regarding Fox pregame show. My dislike started when the show was in Afghanistan and the commentators had to state why he wore a certain uniform (Army, Air Force etc.) Jimmy Johnson said smiling something like…I wanted to go to the Air Force but my mother told me she could not go see him play in all his football games so he went to xxx college”, so I wore Air Force clothing. It started with Crap like this that got me to thinking the show was all nonsense. As a veteran, had I been in the audience, I would have to have been physically removed at this point. Then this week Fox showed some replay of last weeks show adding to my discomfort. Yes jd713, I agree, Fox needs new material, a shortened show, something.

  18. the tension b/t teams and gruden in regards to keeping secrets is a legitimate aspect but nothing else….
    “i’ll take him” comment is no slip….just a cliche. like “sign me up’ or “count me in”
    why read more into it than that?

  19. “Gruden’s Jonny Gumdrop routine is part of a ploy to burn no bridges to potentially interested NFL franchises.”
    let me translate that; No way is ESPN letting Gruden go back to Oakland so we wont have somebody to talk endless amounts of crap about, and we lose a telegenic, personality that we WRENCHED away from Oakland anyway….Gruden loved coaching there, but couldnt get a deal done after that AFC title loss….it was Davis’ fatal mistake, even if Gruden left Tampa old and not competitive…Gruden was easily the best coach they had since their return back to Oakland….and it miffed ESPN to no end that someone that popular was in Oakland under Al Davis.

  20. Holmgren, Gruden, Shanahan, all these guys left Teams in shambles and everyone says they are the top coaching prospects ? Cowher is the only guy that left on top, if anybody should be getting top billing it’s him. I never understood Coach recycling, if these guys are so damn good why did they get fired or leave their last Teams ? I guess a Super Bowl Win gets you a free ride for another 20 years in the NFL. Hell, Washington finally gave up on Gibbs and he hasn’t won since players wore leather helmets.

  21. Watching the game last night I felt like Gruden was lobbying for the Browns’ job. If he did get it it seems that he’d end the QB contraversy and commit to Quinn.

  22. Shanahan left his team in shambles? really? Anyone else remember a 6-0 start atop the AFC West, granted that was 3 games ago, but really, in shambles? Come on…they finished 8-8 that year, that’s not shambles, that’s decent.

  23. Ok, not that it matters, but Gruden is living the good life right now. I mean he has no real job pressure. He is still getting a check from the Bucs until he gets another coaching gig . And he sounds like he is having a great time . Two paychecks , great job, lots of fun , no worries.
    Best of both worlds !
    Whata a country!

  24. Flo-jo,
    Is this the best you’ve got? Why do you try to tear so many people down? Low self-esteem? I like the information here, but get real.

  25. I don’t get how Gruden saying “I’d hire him” means that he’s going to be coaching? That is something anyone could say if they respected the guy. That doesn’t mean squat. Basically Gruden was saying “if I were a coach, and I used to be, I’d hire him.” This is a reach…

  26. “We’ve detected real tension between Gruden and Jaworski at times this year”
    Oh yeah. Did anyone catch last night’s little exhange? They cut to footage of Dick Vermeil telling a young Ron Jaworksi that he’s committed to him as the team’s quarterback. Jaws talked about how much that meant to him and how Mangini needs to do the same thing with Quinn. He then says to Gruden something like “You coached a lot of young quarterbacks, Jon. You know what that’s like. You have to commit to these guys and give them a chance.”
    Chucky didn’t say anything because I think he was busy strangling Jaws. He was NOTORIOUS for never sticking with a young QB. This was a blow below the belt if I’ve ever seen one.

  27. I can easily see how the media would turn this into a story. But why does it have to be next year? Its not like Reed will retire after this year anyways. Hes got plenty of football left in him. Gruden is still young and at some point there is no doubt he will make his return to coaching. Seems like a non-story to me.
    I too have noticed a bit of tension and awkwardness in the MNF booth. Gruden has also gotten a bit more outspoken and cocky as the weeks progress. I’m curious to see how things play out.

  28. Look guys, there is absolutely no way Gruden is making NFL coach money, to broadcast, are you serious??? The fact is Gruden had a 1 year ESPN contract, and all they did was extend it. ESPN is announcing it like its binding and unbreakable, probably based on Gruden telling them he isnt going anywhere, but there are going to be some NFL jobs out there worth a lot of money. Plus, as you can tell from his broadcasting, Gruden wants to coach again. Look at how he restrains from a bad call by a ref. How he holds back, just a little, on a weird coaching error. And how annoyed he is sometimes at stupid penalties and such. He will be back, maybe not next year, but by 2011 for sure, and all this will be for not.

  29. I took Gruden’s comments as more colorful commentary. I mean Ed Reed is a superior defensive back, possibly top 5 this league has ever seen. With that said what coach wouldn’t want to hire this guy as an assistant or coordinator?
    I tend to wonder what Gruden is thinking half the time anyway so I don’t even think he knows his comments may have led to such speculation.
    When all is said and done, I think Gruden is looking out for his pocket book. He has gotten used to getting a pretty substantial pay check and i’m sure his lifestyle has assumed the role of somebody who gets paid well. So his extension with ESPN is more likely reflective of that rather than a smoke-screen used to prevent teams from telling him vital information as an analyst when he in fact may be accross the field from them in another 8 months.

  30. Gossip is that Bradshaws coming out of retirement to be the starting QB for the Browns.
    what the hey, I can start rumors too.

  31. Rumor is Bradshaw is coming out of retirement to start QB for the Browns.
    I also know a couple jailhouse lawyers, so does that qualify me as a sportswriter?

  32. Oh yeah, urworstnitemare, the other thing you need besides knowing how to start rumors and knowing a couple of jailhouse lawyers is knowing a janitor or secretary who works at the Steelers facility and you can start calling him/her “a league source”.
    You get these things and you’ll be all set for CBS to come in and sweep you off your feet after a couple of years.

  33. Also, Bradshaw, Elvis, and MJ are hanging out together at a mobile trailer park. So that rumor about them being dead is false.
    The guy that cleans the porta potties gave me this info.
    So The Notorious V.I.C. does he qualify as an inside source?
    More to come later, just need to get more sources.

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