8:30 PM Anderson County (TN) High School QB Tyler Hicks, who recovered from a serious brain injury he suffered in 2012, was presented with the first Will McKamey Spirit Award on Thursday. The award is named in honor of a Navy football player who died after collapsing during practice last March.
Sapp, who has a relationship with Jon Gruden dating back to the NFL, revealed some new information during Thursday’s radio show about the possible circumstances surrounding the departure of Univ. of Miami football coach Randy Shannon.
Information that, to say the least, paints Gruden in an extremely negative light.
Sunday speculation exploded in the Miami media that Jon Gruden was closing in on a deal to coach the Miami Hurricanes.
Hurricanes beat writer Manny Navarro of the MIAMI HERALD Tweeted Sunday evening, “Hearing Jon Gruden has agreed to $3.4 mil deal to become #UM’s next coach. Trying hard to confirm it officially.”
Earlier Sunday Steve Gorten of the SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL had reported, “According to a UM source, former NFL coach Jon Gruden initiated contact with the university to express his desire for the job and that the interest is mutual.”
Gruden agreeing to coach the Hurricanes would be a shocker, but if you believe Peter King, there’s virtually no chance it will happen.
A person with knowledge of Miami’s search told The Associated Press on Sunday night that Jon Gruden received “parameters” of an offer from the Hurricanes. Gruden, the former Tampa Bay coach who now an ESPN analyst, is atop Miami’s wish list, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because university officials did not authorize the release of search details.
Sources familiar with the UM coaching search told me Saturday night that the school had contracted the coach placement firm run by Chuck Neinas to assist with the hire. Neinas charges a standard fee of $50,000 for his services, and with Miami Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt now on the record about having hired Neinas, the insta-hire of Gruden would be hard to believe.
So why then has Gruden’s name exploded in its association with the Miami job? Read more…
Last night on ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast, play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico asked ESPN NFL analysts Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski what they thought of Reggie Bush forfeiting his Heisman Trophy last week.
Despite Bush being ruled ineligible by the NCAA for the 2005 season, which retroactively violated a Heisman Trophy bylaw required of a Heisman winner, both said it was unfortunate that Bush had to return the 2005 award.
Ron Jaworski on Bush giving back the Heisman:
“I think it’s (giving back the Heisman) the wrong thing to do. He won the Heisman with his play on the field. I know there was a lot of pressure on him. He wanted to put this behind him.
“He decided to give the trophy back but he earned that trophy. When is the Heisman suppose to be an enforcement agency for the scholar athletes or student athletes? He won the award, he should keep it.”
Jon Gruden on Bush giving back the Heisman: Read more…
Last night I spent the start of the NFL Draft flipping back and forth between ESPN and the NFL Network before finally settling in to NFLN coverage for most of the night.
(Dude on the left? A-hole, which is why I like him)
Why? Because ESPN left its big NFL Draft guns Mel Kiper and Todd McShay on the bench in favor of offhand analysis by Jon Gruden. Inexplicable when considering that ESPN singlehandedly built the NFL Draft into the popular, pop culture event that it is today by the non-stop propping up of prognostication by Kiper and now McShay.
Once I realized that Kiper and McShay were being shoved aside by ESPN to placate Gruden’s ego, I turned to NFL Network, which spent most of the night giving viewers what they wanted, astute analysis from draft expert Mike Mayock.
So why did ESPN flip the script? The network is doing all it can to keep Gruden from returning to the NFL, so it showcased the coach on what has become perhaps ESPN’s signature NFL property. But in the process of doing so, Bristol betrayed what it has built into an astonishingly popular property.
I’m flummoxed by ESPN’s naivete about Gruden. Bristol execs somehow think that he wouldn’t break his current contract with the network if the right coaching deal came along. A deal that would probably include an NFL team buying out a portion of Gruden’s remaining ESPN contract.
So on what should be a triumphant night for a property ESPN basically invented, the network sent NFL Draftniks scurrying to the NFL Network as Kiper and McShay were mostly idle throughout the night.
While I know there are probably plenty of you who despise Kiper and McShay, ESPN has turned them into undeniable celebrities. So ESPN spends all this time building up the pair’s predictions, then shoves them aside during the actual NFL Draft coverage just to make Gruden happy? Though the coach could leave the network at any moment and is somewhat reticent about giving strong opinions for fear of alienating a future employer?
I’m not defending Kiper and McShay, more making a comment about ESPN’s inability to see how its being played by Gruden.
Knowing NCAA sanctions are likely looming for USC and that Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron were prominent members of the Trojans staff during the time some of those possible violations occurred, to outsiders it must look insane that USC hired Kiffin as head coach yesterday.
(Orgeron was already on board as Kiffin caught last plane out)
But in the context of the coaching search USC completed before hiring Kiffin, the Trojans had no choice but to hire a guy almost universally despised not only in Knoxville, but inside USC’s Heritage Hall.
To clarify the hire, understand that USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett was only tangentially involved in the process. The primary movers in getting the deal done were search committee members Ed Roski, Pat Haden and Lakers Owner Jerry Buss.
(USC Coach Search Committee: Buss, Roski, Haden)
Roski and Haden are also members of the USC Board of Trustees, with Roski the Chair. Roski is also the guy fronting L.A.’s bid to bring the NFL back. Buss is a prominent USC booster. I only last night found out that the Lakers Owner was involved in the coaching hire.
UPDATE: ESPN Senior Director of Communications Bill Hofheimer email to SbB on Gruden extension announcement: “Jon is committed to MNF for multiple years and his decision to sign this extension is a clear indication of that. He will not be seeking any coaching positions for the foreseeable future. We expect to have him here at ESPN for a long time.”
Key part there are the words “forseeable future.” How long that is, no telling.
ESPN announced this morning that Jon Gruden has signed a multi-year extension with the network to continue with Monday Night Football will also adding college broadcast duties.
Gruden will appear on ESPN’s NFL Draft and Super Bowl week coverage, among other platforms, and he will call the 2010 NFL Pro Bowl in South Florida on January 31, 2010. Gruden will serve as an analyst for ESPN Radio’s 2010 Rose Bowl and Bowl Championship Series (BCS) title game broadcasts, where he will team with Tirico, and he will be part of SportsCenter coverage leading up to the ESPN on ABC telecasts of both games.
The material news is that Gruden will now branch out to the NFL Draft and college football. I’m sure putting Gruden on those ESPN radio games will help the ESPN sales department sell national ad spots for those games, but for the broadcast’s sake, I would’ve preferred a guy who has done college all season. Todd Blackledge, Jesse Palmer and Craig James would’ve be better, with Todd McShay as third wheel.
The news of the contract extension is fine and good, but if an NFL team wants Gruden as its coach bad enough, you know it’ll figure out a way to buy Gruden out of his ESPN deal. Read more…
You’ve got to hand it to Mike Tirico; he’s a true professional. Even when attacked by a ravenous mosquito, he never loses focus on the job at hand. That insect is sucking the very lifeblood from the ESPN broadcaster; perhaps even siphoning off a microscopic percentage of his considerable talent … hey, there’s a lot about the culicidae family of insects that science has yet to understand.
But Tirico never flinches. Video of this shocking attack following the jump. Read more…
It seems to be part of our human DNA to create competing professional football leagues to the NFL. But those always seem to end up in the same place; as fossils in the Wasn’t-That-A-Quaint-Idea Museum of Natural History (not open on Sundays). Is the nascent United Football league also destined for the archeologist’s brush? Their dusty, inanimate ancestors, the USFL, WFL, WLAF, XFL and Arena League, would seem to indicate yes.
(Only the girl on the far right seems to notice that there’s a game going on)
Consider the Florida Tuskers, which are the top UFL team so far, with a 3-0 record and the league’s top-rated passer and team offense. They’ve got an OK place to play (the Citrus Bowl), name coaches (head coach Jim Haslett, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, receivers coach Ike Hilliard) and even some roster names which fans can hang their hats on (Brooks Bollinger, Tatum Bell, Michael Pittman).
But is that enough? Enjoy the photo above, featuring Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer posing with some high school cheerleaders on Thursday, and keep in mind that it’s being taken, apparently, as the game is being played. Also, look at all the comfortable elbow room stands (the league is averaging 10,978 per game so far — just over 11,000 attended the Tuskers game). Doesn’t look good. Read more…
Before we get to Gruden’s performance last night, let’s do a little fact-checking first. Or in Gruden’s case, make that ab-checking - as Tampa Bay coach in 2002:
The meeting was brief, the request bizarre. Tampa Bay Coach Jon Gruden didn’t ask [quarterback] Rob Johnson to throw a pass or even set foot on the football field. A stack of videotapes told Gruden everything he needed to know. Well, almost everything.
“He asked me to lift my shirt to see my abs,” said Johnson, 29. “He’s just crazy like that. He wanted to see how hard I’ve worked.”
“I’ll be the first to say I like this guy,” said Gruden. “I see something in this guy.”
Can’t say Gruden had a lot of company on that one.
Now onto the coach’s performance in the two way mirrored darkly lit booth last night…