Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Esiason back on Monday night... radio

'AP Sports Writer

        Four months after he was fired from ABC's “Monday Night Football,” Boomer Esiason will be back in the booth as a radio analyst.

        The former Bengals QB signed a two-year contract with Westwood One/CBS Radio Sports .

        “When you go back and think about it, there wasn't really a spot in television at this point, and this is a high-profile spot for me,” Esiason said.

        He'll team with play-by-play voice Howard David and former linebacker Matt Millen in a three-man radio booth for the NFL's Monday night games. John Dockery will do sideline reports.

        The show was heard on 504 radio stations last season, with an average audience of 8.5 million listeners, Westwood One said.

        Esiason will debut Sept. 4, when the St. Louis Rams face the Denver Broncos.

        His departure from ABC in March was acrimonious, with Esiason publicly assigning part of the blame for his firing to “Monday Night Football” play-by-play announcer Al Michaels.

        Esiason said he's put that behind him.

        “I can't worry about what has transpired. Certainly when you get released from somewhere, you get down and you're emotional about it,” he said.

        “I'm over it. It's like anything else, where you get fired from someplace and they want to replace you. I've always worn my feelings on my sleeve. It took me a while. No one ever wants to be told they can't do a job they think they're good at.”

        Esiason and Michaels have not spoken since the Pro Bowl.

        “I'm sure we'll see each other at one of the games and shake hands and be gentlemen,” Esiason said.

        He was with “Monday Night Football” for two seasons, the first as part of a three-man booth with Michaels and Dan Dierdorf, and the second alone with Michaels. ABC replaced Esiason last month by adding comedian Dennis Miller and analyst Dan Fouts.

        “I personally thought he did a good job on ABC. All these announcer situations are vanilla and chocolate. If you have compelling games, the ratings are going to be strong,” said Westwood One President and CEO Joel Hollander.

        “Boomer will be able to bring his knowledge from the last couple of years at ABC to enhance our booth. He also has great business acumen and we expect to get new sponsorships through Boomer.”

        Esiason, who retired from the NFL in 1998, also played for the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals and ranks ninth in career passing yards with 36,442.

        He was the 1988 league MVP, a four-time Pro Bowler, and led the Bengals to the 1989 Super Bowl.

        “If you asked me last year at this time would I be in radio, I probably would have told you you were out of your mind,” Esiason said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for me.”


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