ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski was one of the bigger names let go by the network during a mass layoff back in April. How much you liked Jaworski’s film-study driven style of analysis might determine whether or not you’ve missed him on ESPN during the first two weeks of the 2017 season.
However, ESPN executives and producers apparently missed Jaworski on the network’s NFL Matchup program. According to The Big Lead’s Ryan Glasspiegel, the network wanted to walk back Jaworski’s layoff and put him back on the air. However, parent company Disney told ESPN that Jaworski could not be brought back. The layoff would stand.
Jaworski’s name was not immediately listed among the layoffs that were made public. But reports always had the number of layoffs around 100 employees, and some of them were revealed much later on as the people affected chose to share the news. In June, Jaworski said that he was “in limbo” and didn’t know if he was laid off or not. Meanwhile, the NFL Matchup show he was strongly identified with was coming back for the 2o17 season.
“I still may continue to work at ESPN. I do not know what the future is going to hold,” Jaworski told The Doomsday Podcast, co-hosted by former ESPN reporter Ed Werder, who was also laid off and is still under contract with the network.
“I still have a contract with them until May 31 of 2022, and if they choose to want to use me in some other areas, that is being talked about with my agent basically as we speak,” Jaworski added. “So I’m a guy in limbo right now. But I do want to continue some broadcasting. I love what I do.”
With a new NFL season underway and NFL Matchup back on the air with Louis Riddick, Sal Paolantonio and Greg Cosell, it’s clear that Jaworski was indeed laid off and wasn’t going to be allowed back on the air. Part of Jaworski’s uncertainty (his Twitter handle is still @jawsespn) stemmed from the fact that he was under contract with the network until June 2022.
But as we now know, that circumstance applied to several ESPN reporters and personalities who were laid off. Essentially, they were being paid to stay off the air. As Glasspiegel mentions in his report, Disney decided to swallow the costs of those outstanding contracts for tax accounting purposes, labeling them as “severance and contract termination costs.”
Neither Jaworski nor ESPN offered comment to Glasspiegel, but it’s apparent that the analyst is still in a form of limbo. He may know that he can’t return to ESPN, but where his broadcast career goes next is uncertain.