KNOXVILLE — Jon Gruden told ESPN's Mike and Mike radio show on Wednesday morning that he does not plan on leaving his job as a color analyst on Monday Night Football.
"But," Gruden said, "as you know in life, you never say never to nothing."
Gruden is a favorite among Tennessee football fans to replace Butch Jones as the university's head coach. Jones was fired Sunday, two games before the end of his fifth season.
Gruden's name has frequently been mentioned in the discussion of open head coaching positions over the last decade, including the Tennessee job.
Reports have surfaced since Jones' firing that Gruden is purportedly contacting potential assistant coaches to gauge their interest in joining him on a staff — presumably at Tennessee.
"You know what, Mike? I haven't talked to anybody," Gruden told the ESPN radio show. "All I really have in my life is my family and footballl. And I'm real sensitive to the coaches who are out there coaching, so I don't speculate."
His name was also mentioned in a Tuesday report from Pro Football Talk in connection with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job, which is not currently vacant.
The 54-year-old Gruden started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Tennessee in There, he met his wife, who was a UT cheerleader originally from the east Tennessee area.
Gruden has not coached in college since he was the wide receivers coach at Pittsburgh in 1991.
He was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 1998-2001 before taking the job as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Gruden won a Super Bowl in his first season leading the Buccaneers
He was fired after his seventh season with the franchise and hired by ESPN in 2009.
ESPN announced a contract extension with Gruden in 2014 that runs through the 2021 season. Since then, the sports network has encountered tough financial times.
Sports Illustrated reported last week that more than 100 ESPN staffers will be laid off after Thanksgiving. The network laid off around 300 employees late in 2015 and another 100 earlier this year.
"I'm trying to hang on to the job I have," he told Mike and Mike. "I am very fortunate to be with the people I'm with. I don't know what's going to happen in the future."