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Is ESPN Stealing From NFL Network?

by Ryan Hudson

First, Mike Florio of PFT reported last month that Adam Schefter, NFL Network's uber-reporter, was jumping ship, and heading for ESPN once his contract expired. Now comes news that the Worldwide Leader swiped Jon Gruden away for Monday Night Football, just as he was set to sign on the dotted line with the NFL Network, and the powers that be are none too pleased, according to Peter King.

The NFL Network is furious with Gruden for jilting the network after he'd verbally agreed to a deal to work there. The former Bucs coach had been very good on the NFL Network, colorful and opinionated, at the NFL scouting combine and the NFL draft, and the network had finalized everything but the signature on the paper for Gruden to begin working there immediately. In fact, he was slated to be at NFL Films this week to begin his job full time. But ESPN swooped in, offered Gruden the Monday night seat vacated by Tony Kornheiser (how convenient), and Gruden took it.

The NFL Network planned to put Gruden on the air all season, then move him to the Thursday night football booth alongside Bob Papa, replacing Cris Collinsworth. Now it's back to ground zero in its search for a voice to pair with Papa.

Apparently, no one on Gruden's side ever called Steve Bornstein, the President of the NFL Network, to let him know about the move, hence the anger. But to me, it just sounds like someone is jealous. If the NFL wanted him, all they had to do was sign him, but they hesitated, and ESPN snatched him up.

Bornstein had plenty of time. He could've had a sit-down with Gruden over breakfast -- at 4am, of course.

Sources: Schefter To ESPN - PFT
MMQB Mail: Gruden's move upsets NFL Network, readers take on Vick - Peter King