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Ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden's broadcast debut on ESPN gets better as it progresses

Jon Gruden exchanged quips with his ESPN broadcast partners.

Jon Gruden exchanged quips with his ESPN broadcast partners.

Jon Gruden might end up back on the sideline someday. But for now, the former Bucs coach seems comfortable in an announcer's booth.

He made his ESPN debut on a Thursday edition of Monday Night Football between the Cardinals and Steelers. And after a shaky start, he was insightful, witty and self-deprecating.

During pregame, Gruden looked a little stiff in his blue suit as he held the microphone in a death grip next to broadcast partners Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski. But he quickly got into a rhythm after Tirico asked how a coach gets a team back to the Super Bowl after winning it the year before.

Said Gruden: "I didn't do a very good job because we didn't make the playoffs after we won the Super Bowl, so I'm not an expert.''

As an analyst, Gruden, who turns 46 Monday, was insightful. He broke down plays without too much coach-speak. He also had a chance to react to news when Michael Vick signed with the Eagles.

As Bucs fans know, Gruden likes quarterbacks. So not surprisingly, he was for the move.

"I'd like to welcome Mike Vick back to the NFL,'' he said. "I think it's a good move for the Eagles. You can never have enough good football players at that position.''

Jaworski was against it, at least for his former team, the Eagles, leading to good banter.

"You're just jealous because he will sell more No. 7 jerseys than you ever did in your entire life,'' Gruden said as he fist-bumped Tirico.

"You really hurt me, Coach,'' Jaworski said, joking.

Tirico and Jaworski later took a shot at Gruden, so they should have good chemistry this season.

"(Cardinals quarterback Matt) Leinart threw it away, and that's a good play why?'' Jaworski asked.

"Because it's the only play,'' Gruden responded.

"Jaws, you have now become the 83rd quarterback that's heard that,'' Tirico said.

"Is it 83, Coach?'' Jaworski said.

"I think it is,'' Gruden said.

It is preseason, and Gruden is likely to get better.

"You nervous, Coach?'' Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said after a sideline interview with Suzy Kolber.

"I am," Gruden said. "I need training camp more than you do.''

Ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden's broadcast debut on ESPN gets better as it progresses 08/13/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 1:22pm]
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