Plenty of former players make a good living in broadcasting. At ESPN, there are enough former players to field a full team, including offense, defense, special teams, and coaching.
With newly-retired players joining the room every day and only so many chairs in which they all can sit, strange things can happen when the music stops playing.
In the case of former Vikings receiver Cris Carter, he could be left standing around.
Michael McCarthy of USA Today explains that Carter’s contract with ESPN has expired. No new deal has been reached.
“ESPN has extended an offer for Cris to continue on NFL Countdown, and we are currently in negotiations,” agent Maury Gofstrand told McCarthy.
ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz was a bit more cryptic. “After every season, we take a look at all roles and opportunities for the next season,” Krulewitz told McCarthy. “We’re in the process of doing that now.”
In other words, it’s possible that Carter has been offered a role other than the role that he has been performing, or less money than he previously received. With such a deep bullpen, it wouldn’t be prudent for ESPN to blindly re-up a guy like Carter, who has been out of the game long enough for some in the younger demographic to not realize that he even played. (I distinctly remember being amazed as a kid when I heard that Irv Cross was a former player. Then again, I was also amazed when I learned that the moon is in fact not made of cheese.)
Whether it’s Tedy Bruschi or Mark Schlereth or Antonio Pierce or Trent Dilfer or Marcellus Wiley or perhaps a newly-retired player like you-know-who, the opening of a window to make a new hire means that the possibility of making a new hire will be considered.
That’s why the biggest challenge for former players is to quickly become something more than a flavor of the month, and to evolve into a guy who has staying power well beyond the point at which the kids out there will remember that the analyst ever actually played the game.