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Jon Gruden on return: Never say never

Jon Gruden might not be looking to leave the ESPN broadcast booth, but the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders head coach is willing to listen to offers that might pique his interest

Gruden said in a radio interview with “Mike and Mike” on Wednesday morning that his current role as a color commentator for “Monday Night Football” broadcasts is ideal. Gruden said he has no plans to leave the broadcast booth, as was the case when his name was circulated for previous openings in college football and the NFL. 

“But as you know in life,” he added, “you never say never to nothing.”

“Mike and Mike” co-host Mike Golic asked Gruden directly about his interest — dating to last summer — in the coaching job at University of Tennessee, which fired Butch Jones earlier this week.

“Well you know what Mike, I haven’t talked to anybody,” Gruden said. “All I really have in my life is my family and football. That’s about it. I’m real sensitive to the coaches that are out there coaching, so I don’t speculate. I just love football. I’m trying to hang on to the job I have. I’m very fortunate to be with the people I’m with. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, I just know this: I’m going to continue to give my best effort to the game, stay prepared.”

If you doubt Tennessee’s interest in Gruden, take a peek at this grin from athletic director John Currie when asked about the university being linked to Gruden.

The Buccaneers could have an opening after what is shaping us as a failed season under Dirk Koetter and Gruden still lives in the area.

He was a head coach in the NFL for 11 seasons, including a Super Bowl win with the Buccaneers in 2002, but his coaching career began in Knoxville as an offensive assistant. Gruden, 54, also married a former Tennessee cheerleader, Cindy.

ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum reported Tuesday that sources close to Gruden informed the network that Gruden has no interest in the Tennessee job.

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