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ESPN, Gruden tied through 2021

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More than satisfied with his broadcasting headset, Jon Gruden eschewed a possible return to the sideline to remain in the ESPN “Monday Night Football” booth through 2021.

Broadcast partner Mike Tirico announced the contract at halftime of Monday’s game in Chicago. Gruden, who joined the network in 2009, now has a deal that runs concurrent to ESPN’s broadcast rights for MNF.

“We’ve had kettlebells that you’ve given us in the booth, we’ve got blenders that you’ve given us in the booth,” Tirico said while handing Gruden the items on-air. “I’m not giving you these for Christmas. I’m giving them as a thank you gift because ESPN is announcing right now that Jon has agreed to a contract extension … stuck with you for a while. Congratulations pal, that’s awesome news.”

Gruden, a four-time sports Emmy nominee, was reportedly a strong candidate to become head coach of the Oakland Raiders for a second time, and his name regularly pops up in rumor mill and blog headlines at this time of year.

Gruden compiled a 100-85 record in 11 years as a head coach with the Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He won Super Bowl XXXVII in 2002 with the Buccaneers, who paid draft pick compensation and cash to trade for Gruden.

In addition to calling games on Mondays, Gruden will continue working on the broadcast of the NFL draft and do feature spots on quarterback prospects.

“Being a part of Monday Night Football alongside our ESPN crew is a dream job,” Gruden said. “I love calling big prime-time games every week and spending time with the best players and coaches on the planet, while also finding new ways to teach and talk about football year round. There’s no place I’d rather be.”


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