People & Personalities: Report Says Sapp Could Be Looking To Leave NFLN
In N.Y., Bob Raissman noted recently elected Pro Football HOFer and NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp's "contract is about to expire" and sources said that he is "looking (or may be forced to look) for a change of scenery." ESPN has "already been approached by Sapp’s 'people.'" Did his "performance during NFLN’s coverage of Super Bowl media day leave a sour taste in the mouths of prospective employers?" When host Rich Eisen said Ravens LB Ray Lewis “moments ago” commented on the “two murders” and NFLN would be airing his response, Sapp "dropped his microphone in disgust" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 2/3).
RAY'S WAY: Raissman cites Lewis' reported deal to join ESPN as an analyst and wrote the net "is not only getting a future Hall of Famer who is highly recognizable, a guy coming off a dramatic run to a Super Bowl title, but someone with major access." It "pays to have friends in the business Lewis appears to have chosen." Raissman: "Does anyone really think Shannon Sharpe got that interview with Lewis on CBS’ Super Bowl pregame show because his interviewing skills are better than that of Dan Marino or Bill Cowher? Please. Sharpe got the one-on-one because he’s a former teammate and Lewis’ good pal" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/5).
KUDOS: SI.com's Peter King wrote Andrea Kremer is "off to a very good start with NFL Network as its health and safety reporter." She aired an "important story Sunday" on Jaguars WR Laurent Robinson trying to "recover from four concussions in four months, and he and his wife wondering about life after football." That is "good work by Kremer." It is the "kind of story that needs to be unearthed by her if the league's own network is going to be taken seriously on hiring a serious reporter and allowing her to do her work the right way" (SI.com, 2/4).
IN THE BOOTH: In Chicago, Daryl Van Schouwen noted White Sox play-by-play announcer Ken Harrelson admitted "something was wrong" in the TV booth "during the last season and a half, but he is confident the chemistry between him and partner Steve Stone will be better this season." Harrelson on Saturday appeared on ESPN Radio 1000 Chicago and said he took part in "a big meeting" at the team's fan fest involving Stone, Chair Jerry Reinsdorf, Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Brooks Boyer and Senior Dir of Business Development & Broadcasting Bob Grim. Harrelson said that the meeting "helped clear things up." Team execs were "concerned the tense mood in the broadcast booth did nothing to project a fun atmosphere around the ballpark." That is "something they want to project" (SUNTIMES.com, 2/2).
MOVING ON: Rays sideline reporter Laura McKeeman "has left" the TV broadcast team to work for Fox Sports on a national basis. McKeeman has been "working PAC 12 basketball games with other assignments to come, and eventually will be based in San Diego" (TAMPABAY.com, 2/1).