CBS is shaking up their NFL coverage after announcing today the signing of newly retired tight end Tony Gonzalez as an analyst and releasing longtime NFL Today personalities Shannon Sharpe and Dan Marino.
After a 17-year, Hall of Fame career as tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons, Gonzalez retired in January holding every conceivable offensive record at the TE position, from touchdowns (111) to receptions (1,325) to receiving yards (15,127, good for second-most all-time). He now steps into the role of an analyst, a position that can be uncomfortable for former players. In an interview with SI.com on Tuesday, Gonzalez said that while he’s always considered himself a supportive teammate, he won’t have trouble flipping that switch.
“When you are playing, at least for me the way I approached it, I wasn’t going to be that player calling people out. Not really calling people out, but more telling the whole truth. Because I don’t believe in that while you are playing; it just doesn’t make sense because we are in that fraternity. But now that I am done, I am going to say exactly what is on my mind. I’m not there to go out and kill players, but if I believe something is true, I am going to say it and not hold back on it. It’s an opportunity to really speak up on issues and I’m going to be as fair as possible and hopefully make some good points people are interested in hearing.”
Upon announcing the hiring of Gonzalez -- whom SI.com says will work on CBS’ The NFL Today pregame show, as well as Showtime’s Inside The NFL and the CBS Sports Network’s That Other Pregame Show -- CBS said that they had parted ways with former Denver Broncos TE Shannon Sharpe (whose records, ironically, were broken by Tony Gonzalez) and former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino.
“While we welcome Tony, we want to acknowledge Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe who have contributed greatly to the success of The NFL Today for more than a decade,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in a statement. “Dan and Shannon are true Hall of Famers on the field and in front of the camera. As they pursue other professional opportunities, we thank them for their hard work and dedication and wish them nothing but the best.”
Sports Business Daily is reporting that McManus is currently in the process of hiring another analyst to join Gonzalez, Boomer Esiason, Bill Cowher and host James Brown on The NFL Today.