Tony Gonzalez Talks About New CBS Role; Could Marino Land With Dolphins?
Recently retired TE Tony Gonzalez yesterday put any doubts about returning to the league to bed, finalizing a deal to work as an analyst on CBS’ “The NFL Today” beginning next season. CBS also announced yesterday that it was parting ways with longtime analysts Shannon Sharpe and Dan Marino. Gonzalez told THE DAILY he had been mulling the possibility of working in TV for about three years. Gonzalez said, “I’ve seen guys I’ve played against that have made that transition. I started saying to myself, ‘This is something I can do.’” Gonzalez also will appear on Showtime’s “Inside The NFL” and CBS Sports Network’s “That Other Pregame Show." He said that he is not sure what role, if any, he will have with CBS’ new Thursday night NFL package. Gonzalez: “I’m anxious. But I like that. I get that same feeling when I play football.” Gonzalez said seeing the success of former players like Michael Strahan, Emmitt Smith and Steve Young on TV made it an easy decision. Gonzalez made several TV cameos during his playing career and thinks that should help with his transition. Gonzalez: “I’ve been playing a long time and have had a chance to get comfortable in front of the camera -- still not where I want to be -- but it’s on the way.” While Marino and Sharpe had both been out of the league for at least 10 years, Gonzalez should bring a fresh perspective. Gonzalez said, “I’m not Simon Cowell. I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, this guy stinks, he sucks.’ I’m not going to be calling people to the carpet for no reason or be cruel and demean people. But I want to be honest.” Gonzalez also will not have a problem commenting on hot-button topics like concussions, Michael Sam or the Dolphins’ bullying scandal (Josh Carpenter, Staff Writer).
BEEN IN THE WORKS: SI.com's Richard Deitsch noted there had been "serious chatter among industry sources for months about CBS blowing up the current group on The NFL Today." But Gonzalez' multiyear deal, negotiated by CAA's Andy Elkin, has been "set for a couple of months." Gonzalez said that "The NFL Today" was the "show he watched most and that the fit with other staffers felt comfortable." Gonzalez: “I felt like they wanted me more than the other places I was talking to. It was kind of a no-brainer when it came down to it to be on the main desk right away.” Deitsch also noted ESPN NFL analyst Cris Carter last month re-signed with the net, but had been "courted by CBS" (SI.com, 2/18). USA TODAY's Nate Davis notes Gonzalez admitted he "only recently felt comfortable with the idea of making a full-time transition to television even though his marquee looks and engaging personality made him an obvious candidate for the switch" (USA TODAY, 2/19).
THE RIGHT FIT: In DC, Cindy Boren wrote the "charismatic and photogenic" Gonzalez was "destined for a TV slot" once his football career ended (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/18). SPORTS ON EARTH's Aaron Gordon wrote Gonzalez is "articulate, intelligent and in several longer interviews, has dismissed clichés in order to give a more thoughtful, nuanced answer, possessing the natural ability to provide emotional yet measured responses." Gordon: "After watching several of these interviews, he’s someone I’m genuinely interested in listening to; I want to know what he thinks. I cannot say the same about Marino and Sharpe, who were well rehearsed in the art of talking while saying nothing at all" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 2/18).
FILLING IN THE HOLES: In N.Y., Bob Raissman reports it is "likely CBS will add another former player" to the cast of "The NFL Today." Sources said that the "leading candidate" is "That Other Pregame Show” analyst Bart Scott (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/19). In Miami, Barry Jackson notes CBS has a game analyst role open following the retirement of Dan Dierdorf. However, CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus said that that job "was offered to neither Marino nor Sharpe." McManus said, “Both are really good at studio analysis.” He added that he "had no issue with Marino’s job performance." McManus: “We didn’t think they were interested in the game analyst role" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/19). McManus said Sharpe and Marino were “doing a terrific job,” but added, “Sometimes in life, you need to be aggressive" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/19). YAHOO SPORTS' Eric Edholm wrote Sharpe "likely will be picked up by another network because of his visibility" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/18).
HEADED SOUTH? In West Palm Beach, Hal Habib writes Marino’s release "immediately fueled speculation that he might end up in a front-office role with the Dolphins." He accepted such a job in '04 "before deciding an executive position wasn’t the right fit." But it "might be now -- for both sides." In the wake of the Ted Wells report, hiring Marino would "provide a much-needed jolt of positive public relations for the Dolphins" (PALM BEACH POST, 2/19). In Miami, Armando Salguero noted with the Dolphins "under the stink of the NFL harassment scandal, coming off an untidy general manager search [and] news of dysfunction within the football side of the organization ... perhaps chasing Marino is the thing owner Stephen Ross decides he'd like to do" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 2/18). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes Marino "hasn't hid his desire to have some type of affiliation with the Dolphins." This would be a "public-relations move." Hyde: "So what? You don't think this team could use someone who could make the franchise smell just a little better?" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 2/19). CBSSPORTS.com's Josh Katzowitz wrote perhaps Ross will "decide that hiring Marino would bring some goodwill to an organization that desperately needs it" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/18).