Jaworski heard Monday that he would no longer call ESPN's Monday Night Football, which remains an iconic TV perch even though the NFL's marquee prime-time game schedule has shifted to NBC's Sunday nights.
"They didn't. They pretty much said they're going with a two-man booth but wanted to talk to me about opportunities," says Jaworski, who also says he spent hours Tuesday talking to ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson. "The cool thing was they didn't pigeonhole me. They asked me what I wanted to do."
There's time to fill: In its latest NFL TV deal, ESPN got rights to 500 more hours of programming annually.
Jaworski, with a new five-year contract, will join ESPN's Sunday and Monday pregame shows, keep his NFL Matchup show and get new opportunities, such as sitting down to talk game tape with NFL quarterbacks the way Gruden does with college passers. The only thing making the move bittersweet, Jaworski says, is he'll miss the guys. "You couldn't find a more committed crew," he says.
Of course, he probably has to say that. Broadcast booths aren't always harmonious, and MNF has had its share of disputes. Boomer Esiason says his differences with Al Michaels led to his dismissal in 2000, when MNF was broadcast on ABC.
Does Jaworski think his booth mates wanted him out?
"No, we get along spectacularly," Jaworski says. "I love Jon like a brother. And Mike has been a mentor."
In a statement, Gruden praises Jaworski's work ethic. "I'll miss working with him," he says.
Tirico adds, "It's been a personal honor and professional pleasure to work (with Jaworski)."
Maybe ESPN just wanted to get away from having a three-man booth, a setup that isn't as common as it used to be.
"I don't think it's about having a three-man or two-man booth," Williamson says. "You do this on a case-by-case basis. … And when you look at the totality of our NFL coverage, this is the best use of resources."
So what is this about? You can only deduce that ESPN is going all-in with Gruden. Whatever you think of his on-air analysis, he could be a TV star. He's a Super Bowl-winning coach who has a cachet not many analysts can claim, and he is regularly mentioned as a coaching candidate.
Gruden left coaching at 45 and, like John Madden, who seemed like he would eventually return to the sideline when he retired at 42, might just end up the grand old man of NFL TV decades from now.
"He's turned down offers," Jaworski says of Gruden. "It wouldn't surprise me if he made TV his career, maybe for his health and sanity."
Meaning Jaworski, affable on-air and well-liked at ESPN, is just leaving the MNF stage to create a bigger spotlight for its star.