As the NFL enters its first round of playoff games for the 2012-13 season, multiple reports are surfacing that indicate Jon Gruden will be filling one of the many head-coaching vacancies next season.
According to CBS Sports reporter Mike Freeman, a handful of teams have "quietly contacted" Gruden's people in recent weeks, and representatives for the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach have told teams he'd be willing to talk after the regular season.
Gruden has been employed by ESPN as an NFL Analyst ever since he was released by the Buccaneers in 2009 after the team ended the season with four losses in a row. He had been with the team for seven seasons.
While the "Monday Night Football" analyst was brief on Tuesday from Tampa, Fla., where he was on hand to announce the Outback Bowl between Michigan and South Carolina, he did tell Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times that “there’s a lot of good candidates out there.”
In an interview this past summer with HBO’s “Real Sports,” Gruden said he would consider a return to coaching if the right opportunity came along.
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“I’m trying to figure out where I’m going,” Gruden told Bryant Gumbel on HBO’s “Real Sports” last summer. “If the right opportunity presents itself, I will come back.”
Freeman goes on to report via CBS Sports that Gruden is talking to teams, with Philadelphia and San Diego as possible destinations. And with the recent hacking of coaches in the NFL, 7 to be exact, destination is one choice Gruden will have many options to pick from.
Seven coaches and five general managers were fired earlier this week, among them Andy Reid who is the winningest coach in the history of the Philadelphia Eagles and Lovie Smith, who led the Chicago Bears to the 2007 Super Bowl.
In addition, Ken Whisenhunt is out after helping Arizona reach the Super Bowl following the 2008 season. Also gone: Norv Turner in San Diego, Pat Shurmur in Cleveland, Romeo Crennel in Kansas City and Chan Gailey in Buffalo.
Three teams made it a clean sweep, saying goodbye to the GM along with the coach — San Diego, Cleveland, Arizona. General managers also were fired in Jacksonville and New York, where Rex Ryan held onto his coaching job with the Jets despite a losing record.