NEW YORK (CBSSports.com) - Former Buccaneers and Raiders coach Jon Gruden has been one of the most coveted coaching candidates since leaving the game for the broadcast booth after the 2008 season, and has been approached by multiple NFL owners and universities in recent years, with Arkansas and Tennessee of the SEC ranking as the latest to covet him.
Both universities want Gruden, sources said, as they try to get back to being powers in the challenging SEC. The Razorbacks are prepared to make their next coach the highest-paid in the SEC, according to sources close to the program, and budget will not be an issue. The program, which has plummeted in the wake of the Bobby Petrino scandal (the Razorbacks dropped to 4-7 and out of the bowl picture on Saturday), is prepared to be part of a bidding war for Gruden, 49, sources said.
League sources said Gruden has made calls identifying possible staff members with his focus seeming more on the college game, asking questions of those potential staffers about recruiting and issues that do not relate to pro football.