MINNEAPOLIS –

Enthusiastically observing the vast collection of fauna at the Como Park Zoo & Observatory, sources confirmed that Monday Night Football color analyst Jon Gruden spent the majority of his Monday afternoon talking to students on a class field trip about the things he likes in each of the zoo’s many different animals.

“I gotta tell ya, I can’t believe the size of some of these elephants, man,” said Gruden, standing next to a group of second-graders. “I mean, holy smokes. I don’t know where to start. The ears, the tusks- everything about ‘em is just massive,” Gruden continued. “I don’t think there’s a linebacker in the NFL that could tackle one of these guys. Now that’s impressive. Maybe two or three could get the job done in the open field, but man oh man,” he added. “If you ran a 25 counter anywhere near the red zone and gave one of these elephants some room to run, that sounds like a touchdown to me.”

Allegedly surprising both zoo patrons and staff with his prolonged and unannounced presence, the Super Bowl winning coach was spotted on numerous occasions giving personalized talks to different students about the characteristics and traits he’d noticed in some of the animals thus far.

“I’ll tell ya what, Nathan,” Gruden said, motioning for first-grader Nathan Jaspert to look at a nearby exhibit. “I was up all last night doing research on the western lowland gorilla, that’s this fella right here,” said Gruden, pointing towards the enclosure. “Did you know that these guys can lift up to 1,800 pounds of deadweight? 1,800 pounds. That’s like lifting your entire offensive line combined,” he said. “You know what else amazes me? It’s the fact that they’re able to snap a bamboo tree clean in half. And I mean bamboo is tough material,” added Gruden. “That’s some serious grip strength. Think this guy would have any trouble playing the fullback position, Nate?” asked Gruden, shaking his head in disbelief. “You talk about ball security, man. Unbelievable.”

Gruden, who has been in town nearly two weeks early in anticipation for the inaugural Monday Night Football game of the 2017 season, was astonished by how many facts he’d learned in the short amount of time being at the zoo.

“Now did you know that broncos are actually horses? I mean, holy cow,” Gruden said, talking to third-grader Maya Sanowitz. “You know, I always thought a bronco was a kind of gun or some sort of piece of machinery, but turns out it’s a just fancy name for a wild horse,” he stated. “Speaking of wild- that guy Demaryius Thomas is gonna have himself a wild season down there in Denver, man,” said Gruden, continuing his talk with Sanowitz. “I mean, you’re talking about a guy who ran his 40 yard dash in just 4.38 seconds– he might as well be riding a horse out there the way he runs fly routes,” said Gruden. “Boy, is he fast. Geez Louise.”

“And boy are these tigers something else, or what?” said Gruden, turning towards the big cat exhibit. “I gotta tell ya, you talk about a perfect example of what a coach looks for in explosiveness off the line of scrimmage,” Gruden said, admiring a tiger walking near the glass. “I love this guy. You talk about natural ability that you just can’t teach. Wow. This is really something,” said Gruden, putting his hand on the arm of school Vice Principal Will Martinelli. “You know I remember I was talking to John Fox before a Monday night game in New Orleans last year, and he said they had a package that they’d run on 3rd down called ‘Hyena,’” Gruden said, recalling the conversation. “Could you imagine if a hyena were to fight one of these tigers? Now that’s something I’d like to see, man.”

At press time, Gruden was seen wandering around the bird enclosure, talking to the zookeepers about what he thinks could happen if the Seahawks were to play the Falcons in the NFC championship game later this season.