Phil Mushnick of the NY Post broke the news this morning that former Jets/Browns coach Eric Mangini is joining ESPN as an analyst this season. But who is the other guy they’re hiring? A couple days ago I was told ESPN will be bringing in a Hall of Famer as an analyst, and I was given two hints: He hadn’t previously worked at another network, and he had been to multiple Super Bowls. The three guys that jumped out at me are Russ Grimm, Art Monk and Jim Kelly. Scan the list of Hall of Famers, let me know what you come up with. ESPN has confirmed a Hall of Famer is going to be hired shortly, but wouldn’t give up the name.
[UPDATE: It isn't Jim Kelly.]
Three hires this week, and two of them were plucked from newspapers: Jennifer Floyd Engel from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Greg Couch (formerly of Fanhouse and the Sporting News) and Reid Forgrave, who used to work at the Des Moines Register. When I tweeted this news yesterday, most people were aware of the first two writers – due to location, one would assume they’ll cover the Cowboys and Bears/Midwest NFL teams pretty heavily – but were unaware of Forgrave’s work. Based on some of the topics he’s tackled and the fact that he’s been a finalist for this award, the guess here is that he’ll be a takeout writer.
ESPN’s Bruce Feldman is alive! First he appeared at Pac-10 media day last week, and then Feldman’s first blog post in awhile went up August 1st (it’s tucked behind the Insider wall), and by awhile I mean, “first time since that Mike Leach shitstorm hit.” Feldman, if you recall, was “paralyzed” by the firestorm his alleged suspension created a few weeks back, and still hasn’t tweeted. There was even speculation that his contract might be up for renewal soon, and he might not return to ESPN.
Contracts are a dicey issue at ESPN because it’s difficult to nail down exactly when someone’s contract is up. Take Pat Forde. His name seems to come up constantly in the rumor mill as a guy who might leave ESPN when his contract is up, and obviously, he’d generate a lot of interest based on his body of work. But when is it up? It is believed to be up this Fall, and if you believe the chatter, then maybe Forde could leave. But on the heels of this Feldman situation – let’s just assume for a moment that he leaves – could ESPN.com possibly lose two heavy college football hitters? The obvious destination for either of them would be Yahoo, although perhaps Fox Sports wants to give Thayer Evans some help and add a writer, or maybe CBS Sports wants to bring in another writer (it added Brett McMurphy earlier this year). CBS has in recent months bolstered its college basketball coverage, so perhaps it is determined to become the spot for college sports.
Why is NESN’s Heidi Watney pictured here? I don’t know … because one photo of Eric Mangini on the front was enough of that guy? How about this – we’ll use Watney’s photo in this space until she leaves Boston. If the scuttlebutt is true, we’ll need to find a new photo in the coming months.
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