Jon Gruden has broken his silence, but he hasn't sat down with Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart.
That was the biggest news to emerge from a wild day of rumors, reports and speculation about Gruden, an ESPN Monday Night Football commentator who appears to have his pick of plum jobs in college or the NFL.
Several outlets, including News Sentinel partner 247 Sports, reported Wednesday that Gruden had canceled a scheduled interview with Tennessee. No one has ruled Gruden out entirely, but Hart's focus is expected to turn to other coaches this week.
Gruden's agent, Bob LaMonte, has not returned calls or texts for comments. UT has declined to comment during the coaching search.
Here's a quick recap of the reports — Grumors, if you will — that circulated through early Wednesday morning:
Memphis television station WREG posted a report late Tuesday saying that Gruden had an offer from Tennessee that would include a partial stake in the Cleveland Browns NFL franchise recently purchased by longtime UT supporter Jimmy Haslam III.
As you might expect, Twitter exploded. But the report seemed implausible, partly because it mentioned the wrong member of the Haslam family as owning the Browns (that was later corrected), and also because it was unclear whether that scheme would even be legal under NCAA rules.
Gruden and the Browns denied any such offer existed although UT declined to formally comment.
Gruden's denial Wednesday morning — his first real comment on this saga — seemed to be aimed more at the NFL ownership possibility than the idea of him taking another coaching job. Certainly, ESPN would love for him to say, "I plan to be in the broadcasting booth in 2013 and won't entertain any other offers." But he hasn't said that — or even come close.
Most national observers believe Gruden will end up in the NFL, which is raising concerns about his role as an impartial media member for the remainder of this season. Pro Football Talk reporter Mike Florio said other coaches might be concerned about allowing Gruden unbridled access to their practices knowing he will soon be a competitor.LSU head coach Les Miles said his defensive coordinator John Chavis would be a "very good head coach" and that Tennessee should pursue him. Chavis was a longtime coordinator under former coach Phillip Fulmer.
So far, neither Chavis nor Fulmer have cropped up much in the Hart's search. Former UT offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe signed a new extension at Duke, essentially taking his name off the job market.Hip hop mogul Luther Campbell, a longtime supporter of Miami (Fla.) football, tweeted the following message without elaboration on Wednesday: "Golden to UT."
Miami coach Al Golden, in his second year with the NCAA probation-saddled Hurricanes, is thought to be a candidate Hart might like to talk to.