By Nick Shook
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Jon Gruden’s contract — a mammoth one — is still being worked out, but with a number like $100 million and multiple reports packing his backs for the Bay Area, ESPN decided to acknowledge the news.
ESPN broadcaster Sean McDonough opened Saturday’s broadcast of Chiefs-Titans by addressing the elephant in the room.
“It’s an emotional and bittersweet day for our Monday Night Football family as today we say goodbye to Coach Gruden after nine very distinguished years, coach, in this Monday Night Football booth,” McDonough said in reference to Gruden, who was standing alongside him in the broadcast booth. “Great legacy on Monday Night Football. Not only have you lived up to it, you’ve enhanced it with your performance here, but I know you’re looking forward to getting back to coaching. We congratulate you as you head back to the sidelines with the Raiders.”
Gruden gave the ol’ not so fast, my friend, doing all but confirming his new position.
“Well, thank you,” Gruden replied. “Nothing’s official yet but these Chiefs fans have been on my back since I got here. What a great place for a big game.”
The Chiefs, of course, are longtime rivals with the Raiders, explaining why the fans would get a jumpstart on heckling Gruden, who spent four seasons hearing the boos from the Kansas City faithful from 1998-2001. The former Raiders and Buccaneers coach is heading toward a gargantuan 10-year, $100 million contract offer from the Raiders, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Friday.
The coach compiled a 95-81 record as a head coach in 11 seasons with Tampa Bay and Oakland. He’s been out of coaching since the end of the 2008 season, when he was fired after the Buccaneersfinished 9-7 but lost their final four games.