by Chris Lingebach

Updated: Feb. 18, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.
Original: Feb. 18, 2014 at 12:47 p.m.

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Newly retired NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez will replace Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe on “The NFL Today” on CBS, the network’s chairman, Sean McManus, announced on Tuesday.

Gonzalez, who played an astounding 17 seasons (between the Chiefs and Falcons), steps into the television studio along with James Brown, Bill Cowher and Boomer Esiason to form CBS’s new Sunday crew.

Marino and Sharpe, who have been on the broadcast for more than a decade, will be pursuing “other professional opportunities,” CBS says.

Gonzalez will contribute to the network in various capacities, the network notes, including Inside The NFL on Showtime, CBS Sports Network’s Sunday pre-game show, and That Other Pregame Show (TOPS).

“I think he’s gonna be good,” said Richard Deitsch, who covers media for Sports Illustrated and says he spoke with Gonzalez just minutes before. “Every time I’ve seen him interviewed, he’s bright, he’s smart, he’s thoughtful and one of the things we talked about, as an ex-player, how critical can you be of people you played with, coaches you played for?”

“I think he’s a smart guy who’s gonna work hard, so I think it’s an immediate upgrade,” he said.

“I’m not surprised that Marino’s gone, by any means,” Deitsch said. “I think he’s always been kind of a vanilla analyst and I think once the contract was up, I think the handwriting was on the wall.”

“I’m a little surprised at Shannon Sharpe. I thought he had a good year last year,” Deitsch said. “He’s always been the one guy on the CBS set, whether you like him or not, who adds a little bit of juice to the conversation.”

CBS may be looking to hire one more seat on The NFL Today desk, as John Ourand has reported for Sports Business Journal.

“Sean McManus says CBS is close to hiring one more NFL pregame analyst, but the deal isn’t done yet,” Ourand wrote on Twitter.

106.7 The Fan’s Lavar Arrington says he is meeting with CBS Sports later this week, although he would not specify the purpose for his visit.

For clarity, “meeting with” does not mean “leaving for.” It doesn’t really mean anything, truthfully, until it does … or doesn’t.

Richard Deitsch’s reaction:

Read the full press release here:

Former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez joins CBS Sports as an analyst for the CBS Television Network’s NFL pre-game show, THE NFL TODAY, and will contribute across multiple CBS platforms including INSIDE THE NFL on SHOWTIME and CBS Sports Network’s Sunday pre-game show, THAT OTHER PREGAME SHOW (TOPS). The announcement was made today by Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports.

“Having just stepped off the playing field, Tony brings a fresh and insightful perspective,” said McManus. “As a future Hall of Famer, we are excited for him to share his knowledge, experiences and opinions with our viewers. Tony was one of the most respected and hardworking players in the NFL and a tremendous teammate. We look forward to him bringing these attributes to CBS Sports.”

Tony will join James Brown, Bill Cowher and Boomer Esiason on THE NFL TODAY.

“While we welcome Tony, we want to acknowledge Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe who have contributed greatly to the success of THE NFL TODAY for more than a decade,” added McManus. “Dan and Shannon are true Hall of Famers on the field and in front of the camera. As they pursue other professional opportunities, we thank them for their hard work and dedication and wish them nothing but the best.”

Gonzalez’s NFL career spanned 17 years, 12 with Kansas City after being their first-round pick in 1997, and five with Atlanta before his retirement in 2013. He is the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdowns (111) and yards (15,127) by a tight end. He also is the NFL’s all-time leader in consecutive starts (120) and Pro-Bowl appearances (14) by a tight end, and ranks second overall among all players in catches with 1,325.  Known for his strength and durability, Gonzalez missed only two games during his 17-year career.

Gonzalez attended University of California, where he played football and basketball and majored in Communications.  During his junior season he recorded 46 receptions for 699 yards and five touchdowns, earning him first-team All-Pac 10 and first-team All-America honors.  That year he also helped lead the California basketball team to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, averaging 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds.

Gonzalez started his television career as host of the local television show, “Chiefs Locker Room,” and went on to appear on numerous national programs.  He also is an author, writing two books, and entrepreneur, developing multi-media programs that celebrate and advocate sports for children in an educational format.

Gonzalez’s philanthropic endeavors include a partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs, along with Shadow Buddies, an organization that provides emotional support through education regarding illness, disability or medical treatments. He is very active in health, wellness and fitness space. Tony is an investor and trainer in the fitness app FITSTAR and is on the board for Fusionetics which utilizes a state of the art, evidence-based sports science process to optimize human performance.

The Sporting News named Gonzalez the #1 NFL Good Guy in 2004.  Additionally, he won a Presidential Volunteer Award for his work on the “Books and Buddies” project, which sought to promote understanding between teenagers and seniors.

Tony and his wife, October, reside in his hometown of Huntington Beach, Calif. with their children.


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