Shaun King calls Jon Gruden “inherently dishonest”


Former NFL quarterback Shaun King, the starter in Tampa for part of 1999 and all of 2000, spent two years with the Bucs as a backup under former coach Jon Gruden.  And King, whose media duties now include a radio show on WQYK-AM in Tampa, recently teed off on Gruden.

Sparked by Keyshawn Johnson’s recent criticism of Gruden, even though both men currently work for ESPN, King explained in detail his perception regarding Gruden’s coaching flaws.

The ultimate issue, King said, is Gruden’s inability to tell the truth to the grown men who populate an NFL locker room.  Specifically, King said Gruden is “inherently dishonest.”

“From a relationship level I think Jon failed,” King said, echoing things that folks in Tampa publicly have said about Gruden for years.  Specifically, Gruden had a reputation within the walls of the building of saying one thing and doing another.

King also hinted that Gruden’s style that simply won’t work at the NFL level for anyone other than Bill Belichick.  Comparing Gruden to Nick Saban, King suggested that Gruden would be better off coaching at the college level, where Gruden could employ a more dictatorial style.  (That said, the inability of a young quarterback to play like the Hall of Famer that Gruden would have been if he had only been several inches taller likely would make Gruden’s head explode.)

The folks at have a link to the audio of the conversation regarding Gruden.  Whether or not anyone agrees with King, he brings an interesting — and informed — perspective.

Meanwhile, and in all fairness to Gruden, we’ll wait for one or more of his former players to publicly declare that Gruden is inherently honest.

Cue the Jeopardy music.

43 responses to “Shaun King calls Jon Gruden “inherently dishonest”

  1. It’s easy to say “he lies and doesn’t tell the truth” but is a Head Coach really gonna have a QB and say “sorry but you don’t have the mechanics to be a successful starting QB”? Fair enough Gruden may be “inherently dishonest.”but to who’s benefit?

  2. I remember King yelling that he don’t need no help, at Trent Dilfer, one of the nicest guys, on the sidelines while Trent was trying to give him pointers firings one of Kings first starts. Yes, this is a guy I will put my trust in. Coming out of his mouth, it must mean Gruden is a hell of a guy!

  3. “I completely understand. One time in Oakland Gruden actually said that he loved me more than his wife. That night Jon had dinner with Rich Gannon.” Jeff George

  4. I absolutely can’t stand Gruden. On MNF he fawns over every player even if they are not good. He tries way too hard to “nick name” every player who makes one good play, its way over the top. He’s a joke and any team who hires him, they can kiss any chance of winning goodbye

  5. Belichick’s players routinely credit him with “telling them the way it is” even if they don’t like what they hear

    In other words he doesn’t mince words and always tells them where they stand with their roles on the team.

    That doesn’t sound anything like what players are criticizing Gruden about – it sounds like they don’t like him saying one thing and doing another.

  6. Funny, didn’t Gruden prove himself in the NFL as a HC? If not, what is that shiny round thing on his finger? And furthermore, if you’re biggest critics are a backup QB who never amounted to much and Keyshawn Johnson, of all people, you can probably sleep easy.

  7. I’m sure that this is a trait of many NFL coaches. You tell a player something in hopes that he performs up to those expectations. You want your players to have confidence.

    And yeah, when they fail to perform at that level and get released, benched, etc. It looks like the coach was dishonest and to an extent he was.

    But the coach has the responsibility of putting the best players on the field in order to win. If along the way things don’t go as planned, feelings get hurt. It’s part of the business.

    If telling a player something that you don’t 100% believe is accurate helps get them to play better, it’s genius. If they fail to perform, the coach is a liar.

  8. @museluver

    Yes a head coach can really say that. Did you not see the Football Life series on Belicheck? “Don’t get into a quickness contest with him…You’re not that quick!”

  9. Another under-performing, never lived up to his potential, ex-player taking a free pot shot at a coach.

    Gee, little QB, if you would have played better, you might still be in the league. But you didn’t, did you?

    So now, you just talk a lot. You can talk the talk, but didn’t measure up behind center, so to take care of the chip on your shoulder, your insecurities, you take shots at your ex-coach.

    That act is probably why you couldn’t make it at this level.

  10. Personally, I’ve never understood the “Gruden as genius” line the media constantly feeds us. He was OK in Oakland in what was probably a difficult environment. In Tampa he took over a loaded team that won 10 games and went to the playoffs every year. He stumbled into a championship that first year while dismantling everything Tony Dungy built then left the franchise in shambles.

    Everyone knows Gruden is a genius like everyone knows Tim Tebow has the magical power to will his teams to victory and everyone knows Reggie Bush is a great guy and the next Gale Sayers. Apparently “everyone” isn’t very bright.

  11. I don’t think this is a shock to anyone. Gruden has a style that is tailor made for a quick turnaround situation.

    He is not suited to be anywhere a long time. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing. It is what it is-and there are many places that could use that approach.

  12. Now THIS guy… THIS guy may be the greatest liar I’ve ever seen.

    From start to finish, his approach to lying is great, the mechanics of his speech while lying is great, and, honestly guys, what more could you ask for in a liar? Top to bottom, he’s just the best.

  13. “Meanwhile, and in all fairness to Gruden, we’ll wait for one or more of his former players to publicly declare that Gruden is inherently honest.”

    Also let’s make sure those players aren’t disgruntled backups or lazy prima donnas.

  14. I live in Tampa, born and raised here. I am very familiar with the folks that cover the Buccaneers for a living and even a few of the men who have actually put on the pads for the franchise over the years, and I can tell you that Shaun King is expressing what many down here believe about Jon Gruden.

    The national media loves the guy, but many who have been around him here call him a world class BSer. They call him deceitful and I’ve even heard cowardly based on the way he has handled certain players and their situations. I don’t know him personally, so I have no experience in this regard, but I do know there quite a few people who don’t respect his approach to coaching men.

    Then again, Shaun King was known for being lazy and hanging out at the Blue Martini a bit too often during the season. So he’s a fine one to talk.

  15. @muselover:
    um, well, yes, he should tell him exactly that. why wouldnt he? what does he really have to gain by lying to them?
    if a pro isnt good enough to start/play, then tell him, give him an opportunity to work on it and improve. otherwise, he will think what he’s doing is good enough and he will never improve, thus keeping/making him useless. it’s called coaching. it’s also called integrity and when you’re charged with leading grown men, having a little of it can’t hurt.

  16. Well lets see, I journey man/diva has been WR says something negative about a coach that did not take his crap and then the backup QB who was his only friend in Tampa agreed with him….

    I’m sure Gruden in not crying at home…Like always Keyshawn and King, stop crying about your lack of talent and projecting your inabilities on others……

  17. whynotusecommonsense says: I’m sure that this is a trait of many NFL coaches. You tell a player something in hopes that he performs up to those expectations. You want your players to have confidence.

    That’s what Rex Ryan does. In the short term, telling players they’re Super Bowl caliber does raise confidence and results in wins.

    After two years of hearing that the players are beginning to have less confidence in the coach that had the false confidence in them.

    Long term that’s a good way for a coach to get fired.

  18. (That said, the inability of a young quarterback to play like the Hall of Famer that Gruden would have been if he had only been several inches taller likely would make Gruden’s head explode.)

    That sentence made my head explode.

  19. Shaun King was not a has been. It was a never was. Hope those 4 years in the league did you well.. I think he is jealous of the fact that Gruden is on ESPN and he is some local radio guy.. Trying to bring up his national profile.

  20. Shaun King who is no longer at ESPN, is trying to make it as a sports talk host in Tampa. It is a market dominated by Steve Duemig. Duemig is very knowledgeable and I am a fan and regular listener. Duemig does have one thing about him which does not serve him well. He has an obsessive, dysfunctional hate for Gruden. Something must have happened between the two beyond what players have told him. So perhaps King is trying to out hate Duemig to get listeners. Meanwhile, Gruden smiles all the way to the bank with his last $5 million this year from the Bucs contract and his MNF check speculated to be in the $4 million range.

  21. Until someone like Derrick Brooks calls Gruden out, I’ll just pass the comments by. Shaun King is a failed attempt at a franchise QB, and Keyshawn is a diva who got upset when he realized he was no longer a star.

  22. Warren Sapp also spoke out of Gruden’s knack for not telling the truth when Gruden informed the University of Miami that he wanted the head coaching job, causing them to release Randy Shannon earlier than they had planned. Gruden then wanted nothing to do with the job.

  23. Yeah, Keyshawn & Shawn King have got some axes to grind against Chucky. There might be some kernels of truth in what they’re saying, but I’m not going to pick through the feces they’re talking to find them…

  24. Again, Keyshawn and King are not the best sources.

    This kind of reminds me of the criticism of Pete Caroll by Taylor Mays when the Seahawks passed on Mays in the draft.

  25. I’ve heard Jeff Garcia hinting at this. I think he held it in, because he was hopeful of continuing his career. Now that it’s over for Jeff, I would like to hear him come out and comment on his relationship with Gruden. Could be fun.

  26. Gruden’s single claim to fame is that he won with Tony Dungy’s team, against a team he had just left. Hardly a real game changer.
    That, and he forced the NFL to change the rules disallowing draft picks to be traded in exchange for a coach.

  27. Why would anyone listen to a washed-up, never-has-been QB like Shaun King. He was lucky to get his 15 minutes of fame. Now get lost.

  28. and peyton let tony have credit for winning an sb with peyton’s team.

    tony’s handpicked replacement cant coach at all.

    tis all relative.

  29. Before everyone bashing Shaun King as being a disgruntled no-name ex player, more credible players like Keenan McCardell and Warren Sapp have confirmed what he professes.

    I loved Gruden when he got here, loved him even more when he left!!!

    Thank God for Raheeminik!!!!

  30. “King also hinted that Gruden’s style that simply won’t work at the NFL level for anyone other than Bill Belichick.”

    Gruden didn’t win a Super Bowl?

  31. Will always love you chucky thanks for the super bowl dungy couldn’t bring. I believe he was good enough to get the raiders to the super bowl a year after he left. I think he would make a great coach just dont let him pick the personnel.

  32. Mr. King has NO ROOM TO TALK. Call the different poker rooms in the TAMPA BAY area and see for yourself how many poker rooms he has been trespassed from. The guy is a complete A-HOLE and has no business throwing stones. HE SUCKed as a QB and is lucky to have been drafted in the first place.

  33. To Coach G, we in Tampa believe in you and I for one respect you for being a community guy. I have been to several of his autograph sessions and he goes out of his way to been friendly and nice to his fans. Thanks again Coach for signing my Playboy and if you remember me telling your wife, I really do get the magazine for the articles. HAHAHAHA.

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