Jon Gruden is willing to listen if Texas officials approach him about the Longhorns' head coaching vacancy, according to a report on Wednesday.
Orangebloods.com, which broke the news last week that Mack Brown was stepping down after 16 seasons at Texas, learned through its sources that the former NFL coach is "open to hearing" about what he considers one of the premier job in the country and would seriously consider it.
Gruden, who currently works as an ESPN analyst on Monday Night Football, has been mentioned as a candidate for numerous openings since he was fired as Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach in 2008. He has not coached since then and has not worked in college since 1991 when he was a receivers coach at the University of Pittsburgh.
Vanderbilt's James Franklin, UCLA's Jim Mora, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and several others are among the coaches mentioned as possible candidates at Texas.
Gruden, 50, is considered a good fit because his media skills would be effective on the Longhorn Network. The Super Bowl-winning coach started his gig with ESPN in 2009.
---Marcus Mariota might be reconsidering his decision to return to the Oregon Ducks for at least one more season.
The standout redshirt sophomore quarterback announced on Dec. 3 that he intended to return to the Ducks in 2013, but has since requested his grade from the NFL Advisory Committee, NFLDraftScout.com has confirmed.
Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the NFL Draft, and the Advisory Board is a free evaluative service regularly utilized by underclassmen to gauge where they may be drafted before making the decision to forgo eligibility. Mariota's request would appear to indicate he may be reconsidering his options.
The strong-armed, highly athletic Mariota boasts a more exciting skill-set than any other quarterback potentially available in 2014, including Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated quarterback at this time. While Fresno State senior Derek Carr and Texas A&M redshirt sophomore Johnny Manziel - who has not stated his intentions yet - are also rated as top 12 prospects, Mariota was regularly among NFLDraftScout.com's top five eligible prospects for 2014 before announcing he would return to school.
"Why wouldn't he want to look into (coming out this year)?" an NFL source told NFLDraftScout.com on the condition on anonymity. "(Mariota) could be the first quarterback drafted this year. That may not happen next year."
Mariota has thrown for 3,412 yards and 30 touchdowns against just four interceptions in 2013. He has also rushed for 582 yards and nine scores.