NFL: Gruden to replace Kornheiser on Monday Night Football
Monday Night Football tried a Cowboy, a comic, a columnist and a Cosell. To fill the latest vacancy in the broadcast booth, ESPN went with a winning formula ó a coach, and a Super Bowl champion at that.
Fresh off getting fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jon Gruden was hired to replace Tony Kornheiser this season.
The snarl-for-snarky swap came after Kornheiser cited a fear of flying in his decision to leave after three years. The same fear beset one of the most popular MNF announcers ever, John Madden, who retired from his TV career last month.
Gruden said the job would give him an “opportunity to see things from a different angle.”
“Kind of like it’s halftime of my life,” the 45-year-old Gruden said Monday on a conference call. “Unfortunately, I don’t know many things about other aspects of life.”
Gruden will join Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski when the show starts its 40th season this fall.
MNF has used all sorts of personalities over the years, dating to its debut on ABC. Gruden recalled watching when Howard Cosell and Don Meredith shared the booth, and comedian Dennis Miller’s stint led to Kornheiser’s run.
Kornheiser will continue to appear on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption.”
“My fear of planes is legendary and sadly true,” he said in a statement released by the network. “When I looked at the upcoming schedule, it was the perfect storm that would’ve frequently moved me from the bus to the air.”
“If I could handpick a replacement of a football guy, I would cast a net and drag in Jon Gruden. He is the two things you most want ó smart and funny ó and has the two things I don’t ó good hair and a tan.”
Williamson emphasized it was Kornheiser’s choice to leave.
New Orleans could get back in the Super Bowl rotation this week.
NFL owners will award the 2013 Super Bowl to either New Orleans, Glendale, Ariz., or South Florida ó where their spring meetings will take place in Fort Lauderdale.
PITTSBURGH ó James Harrison plans to pass on another trip to the White House with the Steelers.
Harrison says he’ll skip the Super Bowl champion’s visit to the White House to meet President Barack Obama on Thursday, just as he did when the Steelers were honored by President George W. Bush in 2006.
“I don’t feel the need to go, actually,” Harrison told Pittsburgh station WTAE-TV. “I don’t feel like it’s that big a deal to me.”
PHILADELPHIA ó Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson has taken an indefinite leave of absence while he continues treatment for a cancerous tumor on his spine.
“Jim and I agreed that he needs to concentrate all of his efforts on his recovery,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. ó Buffalo Bills defensive back Donte Whitner said he has videotaped evidence showing he did nothing wrong during an altercation with police outside a Cleveland nightclub.
Whitner added he is confident charges against him could be dropped as early as today, when he is scheduled to appear in municipal court.
Whitner said his attorney has received a videotape of what happened when police used a stun gun and handcuffed Whitner after he tried to force his way past officers trying to control a crowd outside a nightclub on April 11. Whitner was charged with aggravated disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. ó Minnesota signed free agent fullback Nehemiah Broughton.
BALTIMORE ó The Ravens signed unrestricted free agent Kelley Washington to a one-year contract to bolster their receiving corps.
TEMPE, Ariz. ó Arizona agreed to a deal with rookie receiver Edward Gant, who played at North Alabama.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. ó San Francisco waived defensive back Jimmy Williams just four months after signing the former Virginia Tech star.