NFL Rumors: Playing Fact or Fiction with the Most Recent Rumblings
Rumors are swirling and meetings are going down around the NFL as teams attempt to fill the void left by the end of season firings that went down on “Black Monday.”
Despite all of the jockeying for position, we are no closer to finding out who will be named the new faces of these franchises.
Speculation and rumors come with the territory, too, and there is a lot to sift through in the opening days of 2013.
Let's take a look at the biggest names being tossed around and the rumors surrounding their potential candidacy for NFL head coaching jobs.
John Gruden Will Coach in the NFL in 2013
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
It has been four long years since Jon Gruden commanded an NFL team from the sidelines. Since then, he’s made quite a name for himself as a broadcast commentator and analyst.
Will “Chuckie” be back with the reins of a franchise in 2013?
The plethora of coaching jobs that became available following the end of the regular season bodes well for the chances of that happening.
Seemingly any former coach with an ounce of interest around his name is thrust into the public forum and discussed as a potential replacement for one of these positions.
Here’s what Pompei had to say about Gruden’s possible return to the fold:
People around the NFL who know are convinced Jon Gruden is coming back to coaching this year, provided the right situation presents itself. I’ve been told Gruden feels he needs to come back now if he’s ever going to do it. He already has been away from the game for four years, and it becomes increasingly difficult for a coach to return the longer he is away. The right situation for Gruden very well could be in Philadelphia. People close to him think he has a good chance of landing there.
His analysis and information seems to make sense in all regards. Gruden’s clock for making a return to the action is definitely ticking and there are several intriguing jobs that have become available this offseason.
Despite those strong indicators, the odds of Gruden finding a job are slim. As of January 2, Gruden has not scheduled any meetings and has not been discussed as a candidate for any of the openings, according to Marc Sessler and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
Gruden has found a nice niche for himself in broadcasting and will likely stay put.
Mike Holmgren Will Coach in the NFL in 2013
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Holmgren is officially getting back into the mix for an NFL head coaching position. But, is anyone going to come calling for the former Super Bowl champion coach?
After seemingly falling short as team president in Cleveland, Holmgren expressed his openness to returning to the sidelines as early as 2013, according to Marc Sessler of NFL.com.
"If anyone is interested, I'll listen," Holmgren said, according to Sessler.
As of January 2 there have been no reported meetings or any type of dialogue between Holmgren and an NFL franchise. But that doesn't mean it isn't going to happen.
While the possibility certainly exists that Holmgren will return to the game, it is not likely that he will do so in the immediate future.
A likely scenario for Holmgren may include taking a year or two off in order to find the right situation. That will give him time to get back in the right mindset, assemble a staff and prepare to make another championship run.
He didn't get things done in Seattle, his second attempt, but could certainly put together a formidable staff and guide a team in the right direction.
I just don't think it will be in 2013.
Bill O'Brien Will Abandon Penn State
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Jason La Canfora set the stage for Bill O'Brien to make his exit from the unfavorable situation he's in at Penn State.
La Canfora, of CBS Sports, tweeted on Dec. 31 that several teams are considering luring the coach away from the Nittany Lions to fill their head coach vacancies:
CLE, AZ, PHI and SD all interested in Penn State's Bill O'Brien according to pro and college sources. Pursuit begins this week
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 1, 2013
The biggest question mark about his departure seems to be a hefty four-year buyout that could deter some organizations from bringing him in. Bill Reiter of FOX Sports broke down just how much O'Brien is on the hook for at Penn State:
O’Brien’s contract stipulates that if he terminates his contract with the university the damages would equal his base salary and an additional $1.35 million annually, multiplied by the years remaining on the contract. The source said those punitive measure apply to O’Brien’s entire, new nine-year contract that was extended from five years after the NCAA sanctions. That would put the amount at $18.4-million rather than $9.2 million.
A buyout may not be the only thing keeping him in college, though.
O'Brien was named the Big Ten Conference's Coach of the Year after leading to the sanctioned Nittany Lions to an 8-4 record. Despite the "feel good" nature of the story, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that O'Brien might not be happy with his circumstances:
However, sources say teams that have gauged his interest have been informed by a third party representative that when O'Brien accepted the task of being the late Joe Paterno's successor, he was told by school officials that the Jerry Sandusky scandal was a criminal matter, not an NCAA concern. That proved to be bad information as Penn State was dealt a four-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions as part of its penalties.
All in all, there are a lot of moving parts involved with a potential leap to the NFL for O'Brien. Still, his name is big right now coming off of his successful year at Penn State. Plus he also has NFL coaching experience and is a proven offensive-minded coach.
If the buyout situation can be settled there is no reason to think that O'Brien would pass up coaching an NFL team and endure four more years of sanction-riddled football at Penn State instead.
Nick Saban Is Not Interested in Coaching in the NFL in 2013
USA TODAY Sports
Nick Saban continues to show little signs of interest in returning to the NFL as a head coach, at least so far. His focus is and should be on helping Alabama win its third national championship in four seasons.
However, at the same time, he should keep his name out there if he was interested in a coaching job. Interviews are already beginning to happen. He doesn't want to get lost in the shuffle.
Or does he?
Saban's camp has reportedly told NFL teams interested in attaining his services that he is not interested in returning to the NFL, according to Mike Freeman, CBS Sports NFL Insider.
Sure, Saban has changed his mind in the past and still could pending the results of Alabama's matchup against Notre Dame. But the resounding opinion out of Tuscaloosa is that he is perfectly content with continuing to build his powerhouse program at Alabama.
That makes perfect sense considering the risk involved with returning to the uncertain ranks of the NFL.
Plus, Saban is enjoying unparalleled success right now at Alabama. He has a chance to solidify himself as one of the best college coaches in history if he can continue to win, recruit and coach the way he has to this point.
He's expressed multiple times his desire to remain at Alabama.
"I don't know where all this stuff [about the NFL] comes from," Saban said, according to Chris Low of ESPN. "When I say I'm looking for the next challenge, it's the next challenge here and the next challenge with our team next year here. This is where we want to be and what we're happy doing."