Gruden spoke with the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Monday and said he's happy at ESPN and does not want to be on any NFL team's wishlist.
"I don't want to be considered for any of these jobs," Gruden said in a phone interview. "I don't want to be considered for anything. There are plenty of good candidates out there. I'm just sick for the guys who can no longer coach their teams. ... I'm hoping to do the best I can to hang on to my job."
As things stand now, there might be a stronger likelihood that Gruden's brother, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, ends up with a head-coaching opportunity. Jon wasn't tipping his brother's hand on anything past this weekend's playoff game.
"He's happy to be at Cincinnati and excited to be in the playoffs," Gruden said. "I can't speak for him. ... I'm not going to. They're in the playoffs, and I'm obviously biased toward my brother."
For years, rumors have swirled around Jon Gruden any time an NFL job — or even a highly regarded college gig — opened up. There has been talk that Gruden only would return to coaching for the right, plum NFL gig, and he has parried any chatter of his return with the whole I-am-just-lucky-to-be-at-ESPN song and dance whenever a reporter asks.
So perhaps Gruden wasn't enamored with any of the current openings. But we also have to take Gruden at his word and consider that maybe he truly is happy with his new life. He can still be a grinder at what he does but have time for a life.
After all, there was a time when Bill Cowher was what Gruden is now: the former coach to whom every hot, new coaching rumor is attached. Now, Cowher appears to be a man enjoying his life and his media career, resting on the laurels of his one Super Bowl ring.
Maybe Gruden also now is that guy.
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