Last night, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Jon Gruden plans to return to coaching in 2012, and that ESPN is aware of his decision.
ESPN says otherwise.
“Jon signed a multi-year extension with ESPN this fall,” ESPN said in a statement provided to PFT. “He remains committed to being a part of Monday Night Football for many years.”
Multiple industry sources have expressed to PFT a strong belief that Gruden will indeed return to ESPN in 2012. He said nothing at the end of last night’s broadcast to suggest that it could be his final appearance.
And even though ESPN is taking a strong and clear position in this regard, let’s not forget that Gruden’s “exclusive” contract extension with ESPN most likely applies only to broadcasting and not to coaching. (ESPN consistently has declined to comment on that specific detail.) Thus, if he wants to leave for coaching, ESPN has no way to stop him.
Eventually, he will. For now, ESPN says he’s staying put. Gruden has yet to say anything on the matter.