Not to be confused with The Cure’s lead singer, former Ohio State and Minnesota Vikings running back Robert Smith has announced that he’s leaving ESPN, his TV home for the past eleven years:
I won't be returning to ESPN in 2016, I want to thank everyone there for making it a great 11 year run.
— robert smith (@Robert26Smith) January 21, 2016
As you can see, Smith broke the news of the departure on his own rather than have network sources or ESPN’s PR department leak it for him.
Smith was one of the more intelligent analysts who didn’t fall into the trap of the “narratives” that ESPN would often put forth. While others would troll fan bases (i.e., Mark May, Danny Kanell), Smith stayed above the fray.
Now the speculation begins on where he goes next. Would Smith remain in television? If so, a potential Fox/Big Ten Network combination might be in order. With his Ohio State ties, the Big Ten Network would be a very good fit and should parent network Fox get a piece of the B1G contract, working for the Fox Sports Media Group would be in Smith’s wheelhouse.
Smith was mostly a studio analyst for ESPN during his tenure at the Worldwide Leader and talk about both the NFL and college football, although he focused mostly on college in recent years.
He could do the college/pro combo for Fox and focus on college for the BTN. And in his Twitter bio, Smith has “Free agent” right at the beginning so he may be looking to take his talents to another TV outlet.
We shall see what his next move will be.