Chris Berman Not Retiring, Says Agent: But He Might Be Done At ESPN
May 27 / Rick Chandler / SportsGrid
Chris Berman will always be in sports broadcasting, forever, until they wheel him out on a handcart along with a single cardboard box filled with his collection of coffee mugs from different cities. His role may diminish at ESPN, but my feeling is that he'll always be there, in emeritus, located in a basement office in Bristol, guarding his legacy and a single red stapler.
Early reports on Thursday, first among them from The Big Lead, had Berman retiring after 37 years with ESPN when his contract expires at the end of the upcoming NFL season. But then Berman's agent, Lou Oppenheim, jumped in and said that wasn't true.
Chris Berman's agent denies retirement report:"Chris is NOT retiring. Loves what he's doing too much and is too young to hang 'em up."
In his report today for Sports Illustrated, Sandomir reports that ESPN confirmed Berman's role at ESPN will be reduced, but it's undetermined if he will be out completely. SI:
Chris Berman will not return as the host of Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and ESPN’s NFL draft coverage, coinciding with the end of his current contract. What has not been determined is whether Berman will retire in full from ESPN. According to ESPN sources, the possibility exists for Berman, 61, to have some sort of broadcasting emeritus role in 2017–18, which could include working on the network’s NFL postseason or Super Bowl coverage.
What's most interesting is what Berman's agent isn't saying. He's not saying that Berman will stay at ESPN ... just that he's not retiring from broadcasting. My guess is that the network and its first star haven't yet come to terms on exactly what will happen.
Berman began at ESPN in 1979, just a month after the network launched. For better or worse he's been the face of the operation ever since. Although the broadcast sports world seems to have passed him by a decade or so ago, there's no denying his impact. He was a pioneer and one of the true founding fathers of the genre.
Could he end up at Fox Sports with Skip Bayless?
Berman fully retired? What would he do? That ego would never survive at home lounging by the pool, or on permanent vacation in the Seychelles. My guess: His one and only assignment each year will be to play host to the Home Run Derby on ESPN -- the thing in which he's considered most annoying. Back, back, back, back ... I'm still here, everyone. Until they wheel me out.
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