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Report: Jon Gruden turns down Colts job despite interest from Jim Irsay

New Orleans Saints  v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Amidst all the rumors that are swirling in Indianapolis right now, ESPN’s Adam Schefter provided a substantial report this morning: he said that Colts owner Jim Irsay did in fact pursue Jon Gruden, but that Gruden turned it down.

As people have said all along, it was going to take a lot to pull Gruden away from a comfortable job at ESPN, where he’s paid very well, does a good job, and has a ton of job security. The thought was that Andrew Luck - whom Gruden is very fond of - would be able to lure Gruden out of retirement to return to coaching, and it sounds like Jim Irsay did indeed want that to happen. Remember, Irsay’s plane was in Houston Saturday night at the same time that Gruden was, and that was what really propelled the speculation forward.

If Gruden really has turned the Colts’ job down despite Irsay’s pursuits, it leads to the question: what now? It’s been thought all along that Irsay is leading a more targeted coaching search, and Schefter seemed to confirm that. But was Gruden Irsay’s only option at this point? If so, that would probably end the coaching search and would make him ‘commit’ to Chuck Pagano. Which would be a really awkward thing, since Pagano surely knows by now that Irsay isn’t a huge fan. Just a couple of years ago, Irsay only offered him a one-year extension and subsequently let him be a lame duck coach. Then last year, there were indications that Irsay also explored his options before bringing Pagano back. And now this year, Irsay went on an even larger coaching search that took about two weeks (maybe more). So, in other words, Irsay really isn’t sold on Pagano, but he just seemingly can’t find a guy who he thinks would be a clear upgrade.

Maybe the search will continue, and maybe Irsay will turn his attention to someone else to potentially be his head coach. Maybe the Peyton Manning rumors will come to fruition and Manning will come in and choose the next head coach. Or maybe Jim Irsay will keep trying to convince Jon Gruden. We don’t know what’s going to happen next, and we don’t even know if this ends the coaching search. But according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Jim Irsay did indeed make a run at Jon Gruden, but struck out.