October 17, 2011
On Monday, Jon Gruden signed a five-year contract extension to remain at ESPN. Fake Jon Gruden reflects upon the decision.
Unless it's reflectin' upon havin' learned at the feet of one of the NFL's all-time great coaches, or how I grew up a Cleveland Browns fan, or that I wudn't very good when I played football in college, or my seven times interviewin' for the Raiders job with Al Davis or that it was a privilege to be on the same field as class acts like Ronde Barber(notes), Tony Dungy and Tom Brady(notes), or that night Peyton Manning(notes) came back to beat us after he was down 21 points in the fourth quarter, or the one time I met the first President Bush or how I used to love the anticipation of playin' on Monday night, I don't like to talk about myself too much. But my name was in the news today so I gotta say somethin' about it.
Getting to coach 53 men and lead them into battle in the National Football League was always a dream of mine and I loved every minute of it. The tenacity, the emotion, the spittle, drawing up a cover-two beater late at night in my office while drinking some Diet Coke and sitting on a cot, yelling "flip right double X zebra jet 46 naked wag seven X quarter" into the headset to Rich Gannon; it fired me up then and it fires me up now. I'm gettin' goosebumps just thinking about those times.
But sitting here on a stool with Ron Jaworski and Mike Tirico and getting to watch the finest games involving the league's best teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs, well, that's just as special. That's why I signed a five-year deal to stay in the ESPN booth and keep me off the sidelines through 2016. It's flattering when my name comes up at various places like Miami or Michigan or Miami or Ohio State or Miami or the Miami Dolphins, but I'll tell ya, I love this life. When I hear the first few bars of Hank Williams Jr. singing "are you ready for some football," there's no feelin' like it on earth. (To someone off camera) Wait, he said what? Really? (Composes self, looks back into camera.)
Anyway, I never say never, so I can't say I won't be back on the sidelines one day. And since the press release announcin' my new contract never says whether I have an out clause or not, it'll be up in the air, just like the question of who's going to win the NFC East. But let's keep out that silly speculatin' for the time being. This guy ain't goin' anywhere.
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