A thought occurred to me over the weekend when I saw the latest report that ESPN analyst Jon Gruden doesn't have any NFL head-coaching interviews scheduled: Is it simply possible that no one wants him?
A lot of the Gruden talk over the years has been more smoke than fire, with his "camp" doing a fine job keeping his name in the headlines. It's part of the game, but there also seemed to be legitimate interest in Gruden in the past.
After a while, though, teams tend to move on. Remember when Bill Cowher annually was sought after? It's possible that Gruden's window to return to the NFL could be passing. Multiple reports this season suggested he was ready to return to football, but he hasn't interviewed. That's not because he doesn't want to interview.
The Plain Dealer reported Monday that the Cleveland Browns "might pursue" Gruden. We stayed away from the report because the wording indicated it was coming from Gruden's camp, hoping for a nibble. It didn't take long for a rebuttal. A "source with direct knowledge of the situation" told ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio that Gruden isn't on the Browns' radar, and that he won't be.
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Translation: Stop spreading rumors about our team.
Meanwhile, ESPN's Ron Jaworski said on WPEN-FM in Philadelphia on Monday that he recently talked with Gruden.
"He's had numerous meetings that he's told teams he's not interested in certain jobs," Jaworski said of his ESPN colleague. "There are jobs he's interested in, but no one at those teams has reached out to him, or they may even have a coach in place."
It's not believed the Philadelphia Eagles, for instance, have reached out to Gruden. It's interesting that Jaworski confirmed Gruden is interested in coaching again, but he can't find the right fit.
As the years go by and Gruden gets further away from coaching, we wonder if he'll be able to stay so selective if he truly wants to get on the sideline again.