In a move that has been expected for so long that it feels like it already happened a long time ago, former NFL receiver Keyshawn Johnson is out at ESPN after nine years with the network.
According to Richard Deitsch of SI.com, ESPN opted not to renew Johnson’s contract.
Johnson arrived with a Tiki Barber-style flourish, with suggestions that he’d be “at the forefront” of both ESPN and ABC with consideration for a role as a fill in on the Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa show. So, basically, Michael Strahan became what Tiki and Keyshawn never quite could become, which surely drives both of them nuts.
The departure of Johnson suggests that ESPN already has decided on a replacement, and it quite possibly could be future Hall of Fame cornerback Charles Woodson.
Deitsch adds that the contracts of Chris Berman and Mike Ditka are believed to be expiring after the 2016 season. It’s hard to imagine Berman leaving ESPN at this point; many in the industry believe that Trey Wingo has been waiting for years for the spot to open up.
Some will suggest that ESPN is holding a spot at the desk for Peyton Manning, but if he goes into TV he seems to be destined to analyze games for one of the major networks. And then to become the president of one of the major networks within a year or so.