Shannon Sharpe on First Take Photo credit: ESPN

Despite the NFL season coming to an end this week, Shannon Sharpe’s role on ESPN and First Take will remain intact.

Friday morning, ESPN announced Sharpe signed a contract extension that will see him continue as a regular contributor alongside Stephen A. Smith on First Take through the remainder of the NBA season.

“Being a part of this family has been a blessing and everything about this relationship with ESPN, Stephen A. and First Take has been tremendous,” Sharpe said in the announcement. “I look forward to bringing my best as we continue to go head-to-head across different sports. I’m very excited to talk hoops, and I expect to get off to a good start against Stephen A. when my team takes on his in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday!”

For background, the All-Star Celebrity Game Sharpe is looking forward to is the same one that saw Smith end up going to the hospital Friday morning after he fell during a practice shootaround on Thursday. It would have been strange for that game to potentially be Sharpe’s last appearance on ESPN, but apparently, it was a possibility.

The ESPN contract Sharpe signed last year was for the NFL season only. And with the Super Bowl ushering in the end of the NFL season, it could have put Sharpe’s Monday and Tuesday appearances on First Take in limbo. Friday morning’s announcement that Sharpe has signed an extension makes his future with the network a bit clearer, but questions will resurface again in a few months when the NBA season ends.

It is somewhat surprising to see that a star as big as Sharpe does not have a multiyear contract with ESPN. He certainly can command it and it seems like Stephen A. Smith would welcome it. Last September, Smith even alluded to wanting Sharpe to be his successor on First Take. But with the success of Sharpe’s podcasts and his growing digital platform, maybe the Pro Football Hall of Famer has his sights on something bigger than ESPN can offer, just as Smith does. For now, enjoy at least a few months of Smith and Sharpe engaging in LeBron vs Jordan debates.


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to