BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — Jon Gruden agreed to a new contract with ESPN that keeps him in TV — and out of coaching — for the next five years.
Gruden won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2002 season and has been a popular name in coaching rumors since joining “Monday Night Football” in 2009. But the network said Monday he had a new deal for 2012-16.
“I said I want to get good at this,” Gruden said while preparing for the prime-time game at the New Jersey Meadowlands between the Dolphins and Jets. “I was serious about this from the day I started it and I am serious about wanting to get good at it.
“I spent 26 or 27 years in coaching, 18 of them in the NFL. I want to focus on this and get better every day.”
The 48-year-old Gruden has teamed with play-by-play commentator Mike Tirico and analyst Ron Jaworski, earning two Sports Emmy Award nominations.
“This is my team,” he said. “I loved doing this with these guys, keeping me close to the game. We have a lot of fun and hey, we love football.”
Gruden coached the Oakland Raiders from 1998-2001 and the Bucs from 2002-08. He went 100-85 with five division titles. He is not ruling out another stint as a coach.
“There are no guarantees that they will want me around here for five years,” he said with a laugh. “ESPN has given me this opportunity and I’m thankful for it. I have a lot of rough edges.”
Gruden has been approached by teams interested in hiring him both “indirectly and directly” since being fired by the Buccaneers. But he’s decided that, for the next five years, his place is in the broadcast booth, not on the sideline.
“Maybe at some point in time I will come back to coaching,” he said. “But I stay close to the game and this scratches that itch, so to speak.”
“Jon is a rare individual who has been successful at everything he has done, going from one of the youngest coaches to win a Super Bowl to reinventing himself with this new broadcasting career in his 40s,” said his agent, Bob LaMonte.