A couple of NFL TV news and notes for you. Let’s start with news that broke late Monday afternoon.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitch tweeted and subsequently reported on SI.com that Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice will join ESPN’s constantly growing army of NFL studio analysts next month. A formal announcement is expected later this week. According to Richard, Rice will appear on NFL Live, SportsCenter and Audibles and he will be based on the West Coast for ESPN. Over the last year or so, Rice has ventured into the sports media where he co-hosted a Sunday night sports show for NBC’s San Francisco affiliate and co-hosted a show on Sirius NFL Radio. And other fans know him from being a finalist on the 2nd cycle of Dancing With the Stars in 2006.
Rice is part of huge hiring spree by ESPN as the network announced last week that Hugh Douglas, Eric Mangini and Damien Woody would be joining as new studio analysts. They’re part of a rather large contingent of analysts that seem to be growing by leaps and bounds. It seems that ESPN is attempting to hire everyone who played in the NFL from 2000 — 2008.
Our other piece of NFL TV news comes from my favorite team. You may know that the Voice of the Cleveland Browns, WKYC-TV Sports Director Jim Donovan had to take a leave of absence starting in May stating that he would undergo a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. He updated viewers back in June, but was silent for the most part as he recovered from the operation.
Today, WKYC announced that with Jim still recovering and progressing well, he’s still not able to travel and fulfill his Browns duties. So Andrew Catalon, the Sports Director of WNYT-TV in Albany, NY, freelancer for CBS and NBC as well as a guest on last week’s Sports Media Weekly podcast, will call the team’s preseason games on television in Jim’s place. WKYC Senior Director Frank Macek writes in his blog that Andrew will work with former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar for the preseason.
Andrew has called a New York Giants preseason game in 2009 on WNBC-TV as well as Team Handball during the 2008 Olympics and Curling in the 2010 Olympics for NBC. And he’s called the U.S. Open 3-D telecast and The Masters secondary broadcast for CBS Sports.
It’s hoped that Donovan can return in time for the beginning of the regular season in September.