Three NFL teams pursued Jon Gruden in recent weeks to be their next head coach, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, and Gruden rejected them all.
The three teams mentioned by Schefter were the Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, and San Francisco 49ers. In mentioning the Colts, who already have a head coach in Chuck Pagano, Schefter noted this is one case where “the rumors turned out to be true.”
That Gruden has decided to stay at ESPN is not terribly surprising. But the reason being given for why he turned the overtures down is telling.
“Gruden intends to remain in the television booth, in part because of the coaching restrictions of the CBA,” Schefter said on ESPN. “He said he is a broadcaster, not a coach.”
Schefter did not elaborate on what those restrictions were, however, most of the restrictions on coaches in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) pertain to off-season workouts and practice. And since the restrictions are embedded in the CBA, they are not going away anytime soon, nor is there any reason to believe the players would be willing to roll those restrictions back.
The current CBA, ratified in 2011, does not expire until 2020.
Gruden, 53, is already nine years removed since the last time he stalked an NFL sideline. He is also one of ESPN’s highest-paid employees, reportedly making in the neighborhood of $6.5 million per year. While he could make more in the NFL – speculation has been that he could make $9-10 million per year in the NFL – he would not have nearly as much job security as he currently has at ESPN.
In other words, teams will still continue to pursue Gruden, but unless his attitude towards the coaching restrictions changes, it would seem that Chucky’s NFL coaching career is over.