NEW YORK — With so many former NFL players yelling working as color commentators and studio analysts, it seems like there’s a position for every recently retired pro in the booth or studio. From Troy Aikman and Cris Collinsworth in the booth to Trent Dilfer and Ray Lewis in studio to Steve Tasker and Tony Siragusa on the sidelines, working as a broadcaster for a national or local network keeps many athletes connected to and invested in the sport they love. But not every player has the personality or the desire to talk about the game once they’ve left the playing field.
We talked to several NFL players and (and one head coach) at the 3rd Annual NFL Honors awards show at Radio City Music Hall on the eve of Super Bowl XLVIII to get their thoughts on which teammates will end up in the broadcast booth after hanging up their cleats. Some of their answers may surprise you.
Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins RB; 2013 Pro Bowl
“London Fletcher. I’m pretty sure he is going to pursue one. I think Fletcher would be great. It goes back to [John] Madden how Fletcher has such a knowledge of the game, he played so long. Sometimes you see broadcasters — this guy didn’t play football in his life so how is he going to know — but Fletcher knows what he’s talking about, so we’re going to listen to him. I think he’ll do great at it.”
Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears CB; 2013 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year
“Me? Absolutely not. I just don’t think I’m a great speaker on camera. I sound slow and I don’t think I’d do a good job. I have too many jokes, I like to joke too much. I would get off track. My ADD would kick in.”
“I would have to say most of our guys don’t even like talking to the media. I’m trying to think about it. When someone is asked to go the podium, everyone’s like ‘Not me! Not me!’ and trying to put someone else up there. I don’t know.”
Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers LB, 2013 AP Defensive Player of the Year
“I’m not sure. I’ve thought about it, it’s been on my mind. I love football, it’s fun being around it. These guys have a great job being around football on Sundays and talking about the game. See me in a couple of years, maybe I’ll swing that way. We’ll see.”
Thomas Davis, Carolina Panthers LB; Finalist, 2013 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year
“Probably Captain Munnerlyn. He’s one of those guys that’s always talking to the media, he’s heavily involved right now. So I would definitely say Captain.”
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens head coach, 2013 Salute to Service Award
“Chris Canty. He already does a lot of stuff for the NFL Network and he’s really good. I think he’ll be great at it.”
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles RB; FedEx Ground Player of the Year
“I would say DeMeco Ryans or Nick Foles. They love the game and they’re very intelligent. That’s what you really need. Love the game and be intelligent and talk with passion.”
Jay Feely, Arizona Cardinals K; Finalist, NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year
“It’s something I’ve thought about it for a while and began to go out and try to establish myself and prove myself. Obviously as a kicker you don’t have as much clout as a quarterback, so you really have to do a good job. A guy like Larry Fitzgerald, I think Larry could definitely do it. He’s comfortable in front of the camera, obviously a superstar in this league. I know Calais Campbell has a desire to do that and he’s been out there practicing and getting ready.
“And really that’s what it is. It’s just like football. It’s something that you have to get repetitions and you have to have thick skin and say, ‘Hey what am I doing wrong? How can I get better and not have pride about it?’ That’s the approach I always take.”
Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears; five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver
“Including myself? What I will do is take out Jay Cutler. He’s definitely not going to be on set. He may do a radio show. But most likely I would have to say me but I hate talking about myself.”