Darren Woodson at ESPN.

There’s yet another change coming to ESPN’s NFL coverage this fall, but this one is from a long-time analyst walking away to focus on his other business venture. The analyst in question is Darren Woodson, who played safety for the Dallas Cowboys from 1992-2004 and then joined ESPN shortly after his December 2004 retirement, spending the last 14 years as part of their NFL studio coverage. ESPN vice president (production) Seth Markman had high praise for Woodson:

In a first-person farewell piece on ESPN Front Row, Woodson discussed how he’s leaving to focus on his growing commercial real estate business, and said he had a great experience working for the network:

Beyond my ESPN role, my commercial real estate business in Frisco, Texas has grown in recent years, so much so that I have decided to focus more of my time on this. As I conclude this unforgettable chapter of my life, I thank everyone at ESPN for their friendship and for the knowledge they imparted on me, and for making my experience as an NFL analyst with the company so enjoyable.

Television never came easy. Not on the first day – not on the last day, but it was always so much fun. Looking around and seeing the incredible effort of the ESPN team always pushed me to be the best I could be.

With reference to that first day, ESPN dug up part of Woodson’s first appearance on the network, which saw him discussing Jerry Rice’s retirement with Trey Wingo.

Woodson’s exit is just the latest change for ESPN’s NFL coverage this offseason. The network and Sunday NFL Countdown analyst Charles Woodson (no relation to Darren) parted ways in February, and front office insider Bill Polian retired in March after seven years at ESPN. Meanwhile, Monday Night Football analyst Jason Witten also left the network this offseason to return to the Cowboys, and after much deliberation and even another attempt to entice Peyton Manning into the booth, the network eventually said they’d stick with just previous commentators Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarlandMonday Night Football has also seen a rules analyst swap, with Jeff Triplette out after less than a year and John Parry in (and in for roles on ESPN’s studio shows as well). ESPN’s NFL coverage will look quite a bit different next season.

[ESPN Front Row/photo from ESPN on YouTube]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.