Gruden will remain Monday-night fixture

Posted Oct. 26, 2011 @ 4:46 p.m.
Posted By Barry Jackson

Jon Gruden, who continues to be mentioned as a candidate for coaching jobs, apparently is content in the "Monday Night Football" booth.

Gruden signed a five-year extension with ESPN last week that runs through the 2016 season, after he and his agent assured the network that he has no plans to return to coaching during that time.

According to sources, Gruden would not be required to pay a penalty if he bolts for a coaching job. But Gruden would need ESPN's permission to leave. Nevertheless, ESPN officials are confident he wants to remain an announcer.

A friend of Gruden said if he returns to coaching at some point, he would only be interested in a job with a marquee franchise with a national following.

AROUND THE DIAL

• FOX missed out, at least initially, on one of the most-discussed stories of Week Six when it cut away from the 49ers-Lions game two seconds after Jim Harbaugh's aggressive, abrupt handshake infuriated Jim Schwartz. Viewers saw Schwartz say something to Harbaugh, but FOX then ended the telecast before Schwartz started running after Harbaugh. FOX was in a rush to get to the second game of its double-header.

While most analysts laughed off the exchange, credit CBS' Bill Cowher, who said of Harbaugh: "You have a lot to learn. There's a respect that has to take place at the end of the game."

• In the wake of Al Davis' death, Showtime's "Inside the NFL" offered the most insight into the man and his quirky personality. Michael Lombardi, who worked nine years for Davis as the Raiders' senior personnel executive, said Davis never said goodbye at the end of conversations and merely hung up. When Davis didn't agree with Lombardi, Davis sometimes would say, "Is that talk radio you're talking?" Phil Simms revealed that Davis once offered him the Raiders' head coaching job.

• Some serious lack of communication at ESPN: Sal Paolantonio reported Eagles coach Andy Reid spoke with former Browns coach Eric Mangini about becoming a defensive consultant. Reid and Mangini denied the story. But considering Mangini works for ESPN, why wouldn't Paolantonio call him before reporting that?

• No excuse for this: During a seven-game early window, DirecTV sometimes uses only six of the eight mini-boxes to show live games on its GameMix channel. That means one of the ongoing games (Bengals-Colts, in a recent example) isn't shown at all on the channel. Instead, we saw a box saying Houston-Baltimore would start at 4 p.m.

• Loved NBA Hall of Famer and TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley's recent appearance on "Inside the NFL." Sir Charles, during a discussion about Twitter and social media, cracked: "If you get up wondering what Charles Barkley is doing, you're an idiot."

• ESPN has some neat technical gadgets, including one that determined Calvin Johnson has the highest maximum reach of any NFL player — equal to Shaquille O'Neal's and a two-story garage. ... FOX also serves us creative production wrinkles, including a then-and-now segment. During Cowboys-Patriots, Fox offered a brief look at Drew Bledsoe (who played for both teams) running his winery in Walla Walla, Wash.