Could Alex Smith be on his way to an NFL broadcast booth? As reported by the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand, the recently retired quarterback auditioned with CBS and Fox for a game analyst position and was impressive enough that one source believed Smith had the potential to be on a network’s No. 2 or No. 3 crew.
Smith retired shortly after being released by the Washington Football Team in March following an improbable comeback from a horrific injury that nearly resulted in his lower right leg being amputated. His story became a national storyline not just for football fans but for mainstream audiences, thanks to a 60 Minutes profile. Smith’s grueling rehabilitation process was also chronicled in a graphic E:60 documentary.
The 16-year veteran returned to the field last October, appearing in Washington’s Week 5 matchup versus the Los Angeles Rams and completing nine of 17 passes for 37 yards. Smith played in seven more games for Washington, leading the team to five wins and an unexpected playoff bid. However, a calf injury kept him out of Washington’s wild-card playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For the season, Smith completed 67 percent of his passes (168-of-252) for 1,582 yards and six touchdowns with eight interceptions.
Smith also met with ESPN and NFL Network, so studio work also appears to be a possibility to begin a possible broadcasting career.
CBS has an opening on its NFL broadcast roster after not renewing Rich Gannon’s contract. Gannon worked with Greg Gumbel last season on CBS’s No. 4 NFL team. Meanwhile, Fox also has a spot available due to Chris Spielman leaving for a front-office role with the Detroit Lions. Spielman called games with Kevin Kugler on the network’s No. 5 crew. Yet as Marchand points out in his report, CBS has plenty of analysts already on-hand and may not add anyone else. At Fox, Aqib Talib may be ahead of any new potential hires in line.
Other experienced analysts also auditioned with CBS, according to Marchand. ESPN college football analysts Mark Sanchez and Joey Galloway also tried out for positions, which apparently indicates that both are willing to move on from their current roles and might want to calling games instead of studio analysis. That’s a bit surprising for Galloway, considering he has a rather prominent role in ESPN’s college football coverage. But perhaps he doesn’t see a path upward in Bristol.
Additionally, Marchand reported that one more newly retired NFL player getting a look as a potential analyst is Sean Lee, who finished off an 11-year career with the Dallas Cowboys. Not as many defensive players become game or studio NFL analysts, so the perspective of a veteran NFL linebacker and team leader could be bring a refreshing view to the booth or studio.