Former NFL star and ESPN host Keyshawn Johnson Former NFL star and ESPN host Keyshawn Johnson was an honoree at the 2022 Dick Vitale Gala in Sarasota, Fla.

Keyshawn Johnson wasn’t surprised when he was let go by ESPN last summer.

The 11-year NFL veteran told host Brandon Contes of The Awful Announcing Podcast that he had a “little heads up way beforehand that something could be coming down the pipeline.”

“So, for me, I was already mentally conditioned that they could potentially be going in another direction,” Johnson continued, “and buying me out of my contract, and then we’ll go from there to try to figure out what the next step would be. And because I’m good at what I do, there was a number of networks lined up to court me from my services. But I’m from LA; Fox is down the street. It just made all the sense in the world with the great timing.”

A key hurdle in joining Skip Bayless on the set of Undisputed had been Johnson’s ESPN contract, worth a reported $18 million over five years, which he signed in 2022. They were able to come to a settlement, which led the way for Johnson to join Fox Sports.

“I could have been a lazy bum and sat on my [butt] and collected my check, but that’s just not who I am,” he said. “Think about it; I could have just sat on the couch, collected a check, and chilled. But that’s just not my makeup of who I am.”

Prior to Undisputed, Johnson had a successful career in sports media at ESPN for over a decade. He was a former first-round pick of the New York Jets and had a remarkable NFL career, which included a Super Bowl championship in Tampa Bay and other successful runs in Dallas and Carolina. After his retirement, Johnson joined ESPN, where he appeared on Sunday NFL Countdown, NFL Monday Night Countdown, and many other NFL shows branded by the network.

Leaving ESPN opened many doors for Johnson, including a podcast venture. In addition to his on-air role, Johnson’s podcast, Undisputed Presents: All Facts, No Brakes, promises to offer even more in-depth analysis and unfiltered opinions.

The future is bright for Johnson at Fox Sports.

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About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.