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Browns say Gruden not offered stake in team

The SportsXchange

The Cleveland Browns denied a report that ESPN analyst Jon Gruden has an offer to become head coach at Tennessee that includes an ownership stake in the Browns.

WREG in Memphis, Tenn., reported Tuesday that Gruden has a contract offer in hand from Tennessee and part of the deal would give Gruden a stake in the NFL team. New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is a Knoxville, Tenn., native, a Tennessee graduate and a school booster.

"Jimmy Haslam has no involvement in the Univeristy of Tennessee head coaching search, and the report that Jon Gruden would potentially have an ownership stake in the Browns is completely erroneous," Browns vice president of media relations Neil Gulkis said Wednesday.

WREG indicated that a decision could be made as early as Wednesday and the NFL was investigating whether such a scenario would be allowable under NCAA rules.

Gruden began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Tennessee in 1986. He moved on to become a head coach in the NFL with Tampa Bay and Oakland, guiding the Buccanneers to a Super Bowl victory in the 2002 season. But he has been out of coaching the past few years while working as a broadcaster.

Tennessee is seeking a replacement for Derek Dooley, who was fired before the Volunteers' final game this year after leading the Vols to three straight losing seasons for the first time since 1909-11. Dooley's record was 15-21 overall and 4-19 in the Southeastern Conference.
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