ESPN has announced that former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden will replace Tony Kornheiser on the network's Monday Night Football broadcasts.
The news comes as a surprise, but ESPN says that Kornheiser is leaving voluntarily and will remain on Pardon The Interruption. Kornheiser said the following through ESPN's PR department:
"I am totally grateful for the MNF opportunity that I truly enjoyed the last three seasons. I feel we got better each year. My fear of planes is legendary and sadly true. When I looked at the upcoming schedule it was the perfect storm that would've frequently moved me from the bus to the air. I kept looking at the schedule the past month and wanted to find a way to quietly extricate myself. If I could handpick a replacement of a football guy, I would cast a net and drag in Jon Gruden. He is the two things you most want -- smart and funny -- and has the two things I don't -- good hair and a tan. I love PTI and am looking forward to continuing to yammer and yodel with Wilbon until the end of time."Gruden will join Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski, who are remaining on Monday Night Football.
The big question now is whether this is just a one-year deal: Gruden released a statement saying he's thrilled at the opportunity to work on Monday Night Football, but everyone assumes Gruden will want to get back on the sidelines soon. So by the end of the year, Gruden may have a head-coaching job lined up, but for now, he's a broadcaster.
(Update: Gruden reportedly backed out of an NFL Network gig to take the ESPN spot)
Like the NFL? Follow me on Twitter.