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Report: Tennessee Has Reached out to Jon Gruden

Just when we thought the “Grumors” might be ending, a fresh batch of them sprang forth on Sunday morning.

According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Tennessee has not only reached out to Jon Gruden to gauge his interest, but they’ve also had discussions with him about a package deal if he were to come to Tennessee.

La Canfora states that part of securing the position for Gruden would include bringing in former Vol quarterback and current USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin as part of Gruden’s staff. According to La Canfora, Martin would serve as “chief recruiter” for Gruden.

He also reports that the deal with Gruden would reach upwards of $10 million per year, and there would be “another $8M per season reserved for the salaries of his staff.” That deal would easily make him the highest-paid coach in college football.

Gruden’s name has been floating around Tennessee’s head coaching position even before Butch Jones was fired. But ever since Jones was let go two weeks ago, those “Grumors” have only amped up.

Most people assume, however, that Gruden would prefer to coach in the NFL if he returned to coaching. He’s been at ESPN for nearly a decade, but he spent a decade as a head coach in the NFL prior to that. And he won a Super Bowl during that time as well.

But according to La Canfora, Tennessee might be the only school Gruden would make an exception for.

“Gruden has resisted the urge to coach in college in the past and some close to him believe he would prefer to land an NFL job if he is to return to coaching,” La Canfora writes, “but the Tennessee job has a particular allure to him, according to some close to Gruden, and his wife was a former cheerleader at the school.”

La Canfora concludes by saying that some of the Vols’ boosters are skeptical that Tennessee can land Gruden because of their failure to do so back in 2012. They also fear he will elect to go to the NFL rather than college. But La Canfora states that Gruden “is very much still in the mix for the job.” He also adds that the ability of Tennessee to get Gruden away from his contract with ESPN mid-season is “a matter of some debate” but that it’s “not out of the question.”

We will have more on this and any other news pertaining to Tennessee’s coaching search as it happens.

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