If there is any lingering belief that Jon Gruden might make a later-than-usual return to coaching by taking over for Jason Garrett in Dallas in February or March, that can probably be put to bed with the announcement that the fourth season of Gruden's "QB Camp" will debut on ESPN2 on Thurs. Apr. 4. The annual draft rite of passage will feature nine quarterback prospects in a year that has no sure-things at the position.
Matt Barkley (USC)
Tyler Bray (Tennessee)
Zac Dysert (Miami, OH)
Mike Glennon (N.C. State)
Landry Jones (Oklahoma)
EJ Manuel (Florida State)
Ryan Nassib (Syracuse)
Geno Smith (West Virginia)
Tyler Wilson (Arkansas)
But the most intriguing segment could be one of the three that involve non-quarterbacks. That's because Manti Te'o will be one of the dozen prospects that will visit Gruden at his Tampa office. ESPN's release regarding the return of the series doesn't touch on the highly-publicized soap opera Te'o has been at the front and center of ever since Deadspin discovered and revealed the story of his dead girlfriend was actually a hoax, so it'll be interesting to see how Gruden and the production team approach such a unique situation.
Of course, it's also possible Te'o and his people have only agreed to participate under those very circumstances. Te'o's history was not brought up in an eight-minute ESPN.com podcast previewing the return of the series. Controversies like these aren't typically up Gruden's alley, but access to Te'o has been quite limited since this whole story broke in mid-January, and a lot of people think it's relevant to his future in the NFL, so it would be a shame if Gruden neglected to touch on it with Te'o. In fact, it may even hurt the credibility of the series with viewers if Gruden and Te'o pretend the biggest story of the sports year so far never happened.
The other two non-quarterbacks involved are Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel and South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore. With Lattimore's devastating injury history, that could make for particularly compelling television as well.
“@awfulannouncing: Jon Gruden's QB Camp will feature an appearance by Manti Te'o. http://t.co/Sneag1TV”. #WHY
“@awfulannouncing: Jon Gruden's QB Camp will feature an appearance by Manti Te'o. http://t.co/xvbRHjfM” Well of course it will.
“@awfulannouncing: Jon Gruden's QB Camp will feature an appearance by Manti Te'o. http://t.co/1ieklzT9” @Espn found its new #Tebow. Shit!
@awfulannouncing Thanks ESPN I know we the public didn't want THAT story to go away. I see some invisible jokes in the future. #Ahhh
@awfulannouncing The QBs won't have to worry, Te'o will just whiff on them if he tries to tackle them. Most overrated player since The Boz
And his girl? #SeeWhatIDidThere RT @awfulannouncing: Jon Gruden's QB Camp will feature an appearance by Manti Te'o. http://t.co/C2fxu21U