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DESPITE ACRIMONIOUS DEPARTURE, FRANK DEFORD RETURNS TO SI
Published January 9, 1998
Frank Deford is returning to Sports Illustrated as a special contributor beginning March 1. Deford, a six-time National Sportswriter of the Year, wrote for SI for 27 years before leaving in 1989. Deford will continue to serve as a commentator for HBO's "Real Sports" and NPR (SI). APOLOGY ACCEPTED: In N.Y., Keith Kelly reports that Deford's return to SI "ends a high-stakes bidding war" between SI, ESPN Magazine and Newsweek, where Deford finishes a two-year deal next month. Deford returns to SI after "a highly unusual move" in which Time Inc. Editor-in- Chief Norman Pearlstine "apologized to Deford for statements made by some company officials back" in '89 when Deford left SI for The National. Deford received the apology letter from Pearlstine in December. Deford: "I needed this kind of letter to consider going back." Kelly reports that Deford will do a minimum of three long-form stories per year and will also make speeches and promotional appearances for SI. Kelly's industry sources "estimated the deal at about $150,000 to $200,000 per year" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/9).