FOX and ESPN are trying to think outside the box for their next analyst hire in an attempt to find the next big star, similarly to CBS bringing in Tony Romo a year ago. According to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post, Cowboys’ tight-end Jason Witten auditioned for the Monday Night Football gig around the same time of Brett Favre’s infamous tryout.
Whether or not ESPN liked Witten’s audition, has not been reported, but the All-Pro tight-end removed himself from the running of any broadcasting job, confirming plans to play for the Cowboys this season.
“There’s been a lot of things said over the years, especially the last few months,” Witten told Clarence Hill of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I guess that’s what happens when you get old. Maybe one day that will happen, but hopefully I can play until I’m 40 like some of these other guys. I’ll take it one day at a time. My plan is to be here with the Cowboys. Absolutely.”
Witten will be 36 this season and has seen his productivity slip from a previous All-Pro level, playing until the age of 40 would appear unlikely, but he certainly has work waiting for him after he retires. Witten also received attention from FOX and their Thursday Night Football analyst opening last month.
Still looking to find Jon Gruden’s replacement, after being unimpressed with Brett Favre and turned down by Peyton Manning, ESPN has reportedly had multiple conversations with another Hall-of-Fame quarterback. According to USA Today, Kurt Warner is receiving serious consideration to join Joe Tessitore in the Monday Night Football booth.
However, in that same USA Today report, a source also states ESPN’s list of candidates remains “long” and that it’s “too early to conclude” who the finalists are at this point. So right now it appears as though ESPN has no idea how they’re going to fill the first high-profile job opening of new president Jimmy Pitaro’s tenure.