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Volume 20 No. 42
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Plugged In: Jesse Palmer, ESPN

Earlier this summer, Jesse Palmer signed a new deal with ESPN that took him from college football’s broadcast booth into the Bristol, Conn., studio. A former college and pro football player, Palmer has blazed a unique trail in media that encompasses sports, reality television, cooking and news/entertainment programming.

I never tried to pigeonhole myself. I’ve been willing to take risks and try doing things like reality TV with ‘The Bachelor’ or Food Network or ‘Good Morning America.’ I’ve been willing to share my personality, and I’ve gotten a lot of really interesting opportunities because of it.

On re-signing with ESPN: Football has always been my biggest passion. It’s my wheelhouse. Regardless of where my career goes in television or media, I never want to lose football. I love college football, and ESPN owns college football.

Palmer: "I've been willing to take risks ..." 
Did you consider leaving ESPN? Yeah, I did. There was an opportunity to call NFL games at Fox, which I thought was unique. The only job I’d consider leaving ESPN for would be to call NFL games. That’s the one sport that ESPN doesn’t have complete ownership over, other than “Monday Night Football” once a week. It was enticing. I started my broadcasting career at Fox calling NFL games. Around 10 years ago, I called a couple of late-season games for Fox.

Advantages of being in-studio: It really cuts down the travel for me. These last three years when I was calling two games a week, I was on the road five nights a week. It was a lot. I was living in hotels and airports. I loved every second of it. But Bristol is a 90-minute drive away for me. Living in New York City, that’s definitely an advantage. I can drive up there and be home in my own bed.

Social media strategy: I use Instagram the most. I like visual. I like pictures. I’ve tried to engage fans and let them see parts of my life that they don’t see on air. I’m trying to give behind-the-scenes access. There’s such a fine line between oversharing and giving them what they want. I’m still not comfortable posting 10 or 15 things a day.

Favorite Steve Spurrier quote: During the film review after a game where I made a mistake, he would stop the film, look over and say, “Hey, Jesse, don’t worry about it. It’s not your fault. I’m a dumb coach for putting you in there.”

                                                                                                                               — John Ourand