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Gruden locks in “exclusive extension” with ESPN

In what has to be one of the more carefully crafted news releases I’ve ever read, Jon Gruden and ESPN have “agreed to an exclusive multi-year agreement with the company. Gruden has made a commitment to remain with ESPN.”

As our friend Mike Florio over at PFT discussed, this could mean just about anything, and for a coach that managed to get himself traded back in 2002, there’s no doubt Gruden was probably taking advantage of the leverage he has right now, with coaching vacancies sure to be opening up and ESPN finally happy with their three-man booth combination on Monday Night Football.

That said, Florio also reports that ESPN has been unwilling to talk specifics regarding the new deal, so whether or not there are escape clauses for certain “dream jobs” is for all of us to openly question and hypothesize about.

Still, for the growing faction that hoped Gruden would replace their maligned NFL or college coach, this has to be a bit of a blow. Yet I have a hard time believing that any coach, especially one like Gruden and his agent Bob LaMonte, would have made an iron-clad agreement to keep him off the sidelines, unless that’s what he truly wanted to do.