Musburger to call SEC games for new network; Fowler expected to be new lead voice on college football for ESPN

I don’t think this is what Brent Musburger wanted, but he probably had no choice.

ESPN officially named Musburger as the lead voice for games on the new SEC Network. He will be paired with Jesse Palmer.

Musburger now goes from being ESPN’s top play-by-play man for college football, calling the prime-time and BCS title games, to working the third or fourth best SEC games during most weeks on a regional network. CBS will get the best game, and ESPN often will take No. 2.

The move seems to pave the way for Chris Fowler to become the new lead voice for ESPN’s college football coverage. He has been angling to do play-by-play. Whether he continues to remain as host of GameDay remains to be seen. Rece Davis could slip into that role.

Meanwhile, here is the positive spin on Musburger from ESPN:


Sports broadcasting legend Brent Musburger will be joined by college football analyst Jesse Palmer in the booth every Saturday on the SEC Network when it launches next fall. The Hall of Fame sportscaster and the former Florida quarterback have each reached an agreement with ESPN to be the lead college football game commentators on the new network. The pair will kick off the season with Texas A&M at South Carolina on the SEC Network Thursday, Aug. 28.

“Brent Musburger is a cultural icon who has been guiding fans through many of sport’s most spectacular moments for decades,” said John Wildhack, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Production. “His big-game performance and unmistakable style will elevate our football coverage on the SEC Network. Serving as the definitive play-by-play voice for this major network launch represents an exciting new chapter in his legendary career and reinforces our commitment and investment in the SEC Network.”

Wildhack continued, “Jesse Palmer has quickly established himself as one of college football’s most insightful, entertaining and dedicated analysts. As a former SEC quarterback, he brings the perfect combination of playing experience and deep conference knowledge to the SEC Network. Partnering him with Brent on this new national platform will create a memorable booth for college football fans everywhere.”

Musburger is one of the most recognized voices in the history of sports television and he will continue to be a staple of ESPN’s sports coverage with a multi-year contract extension. In addition to lending his voice to one of the three football games slated for the network each Saturday, Brent will remain a play-by-play announcer for Big 12 college basketball games across ESPN networks. He and Palmer will call multiple college football bowl games on ESPN as well.

Musburger will make appearances on behalf of SEC Network and, after more than 20 years at ESPN and ABC, his role will continue to include sharing his expertise and experiences as a mentor.

“I’m delighted to be staying with ESPN, thrilled to be able to call the best football conference in the nation every week and am really looking forward to working with Jesse, who I covered while he was at Florida,” said Musburger. “Jesse has tremendous football knowledge, knows this league very well and does his homework. He has a tremendous future in this business.”

Musburger’s new booth partner, Palmer, has also reached a new agreement with ESPN that includes the role. In addition to calling Saturday games for the conference with the most BCS Champions, he will continue as an analyst on ESPN’s Thursday Night College Football package.  Palmer’s expertise will also be featured in ESPN’s extensive post-season coverage.

“I am honored and humbled at the rare opportunity to help launch a national network of this magnitude and to do so alongside, Brent, a legend within the sport and the industry” said Palmer. “”Playing in the SEC represented four of the greatest years of my life and I feel incredibly fortunate to now have the opportunity to cover this great conference.  Year after year, their on-field success continues the conference’s standard of excellence and their passionate fan base is second to none.”

Musburger and Palmer join a growing roster of nationally recognized on-air commentators for the SEC Network that include Joe Tessitore, Tim Tebow and Paul Finebaum. Additional ESPN and SEC Network college football announcements will be made at a later date.

“The pairing of Brent and Jesse as our lead team speaks to the caliber of talent we will have on the network and the commitment to quality that we are making,” said Stephanie Druley, ESPN Vice President, Production, College Networks. “We are establishing an incredible roster that SEC fans and followers expect and deserve.”

Follow-up: Delany says Big Ten not considering slate of Friday night games

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany now is saying the conference isn’t going to pursue a slate of Friday night games.

Yesterday during an appearance in Chicago, he clarified reports that he was seeking input about moving games to Friday to create a lucrative TV package.

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune reports:

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany told the Tribune on Thursday the conference is not seeking to play more Friday night games, with the exception of the day after Thanksgiving. Friday night games on Labor Day weekend, before some schools are in session, will continue.

In addressing TV negotiations that are slated to begin in 2015, Delany said the conference is emphasizing increasing night games on Saturdays in November.

“We’re looking hard at more prime time,” he said. “We’re looking at many, many issues — 100 issues.

“We’re trying to enhance the (TV) package, but the notion that we’re playing Friday nights — I don’t think it will happen while I’m here. There are much higher priorities.”

Delany, whose contract runs through June 2018, said he took exception to a headline on — “OK with Badgers football on Friday night?” — because it “gave the impression that we’re going to do it.”

“You never say never,” he said. “We might be playing on Netflix or YouTube (someday). You can’t know what is going to happen down the road.”

Now did Delany already get his input and discover that schools were in favor of Friday night games? Greenstein notes:

Delany said the three biggest obstacles to Friday night games are interference with high school games, the potential of missed class time for players and whether campuses can handle a weekday crowd.

Potential of missed class time for players? That’s funny, considering all the time basketball player miss during the season and especially during the NCAA tournament.

The original Friday night story broke out of Madison. However, it gained some traction when Tom Dienhart of did a speculative piece on Friday night games earlier in the week.

Dienhart did a follow-up yesterday. He noted that in 2 1/2 years at BTN, he never got more response than he did over the Friday night game column.


Wanna really think outside the box? Play games at 1 pm on Sunday. There are legions of college football fans like myself who do not care one iota about the NFL. – Colin Meyer

Traveling for fans would be much more difficult for a Friday night game.  And Friday nights are for high school football. I’m pretty traditional and think it needs to stay on Saturdays. – Bob

I may be a bit of a traditionalist, but Friday nights are for high school football.  College football should leave Friday nights alone.  How would college football like it if the NFL started playing on Saturdays in September? – Dave

In favor:

Love the idea of Friday night football for non-conference games. It would really be good exposure for the weaker teams in the league when they play the normal “cupcakes” that are on the schedule. What else is there to watch on Friday night? – Drew Freeman

Why would any football fan object to Friday night Big Ten football? It would provide an opportunity to see more televised games! Trying to see all of the Big Ten games on Saturday is impossible. In fact, why don’t you have one of the games every night of the week? Hmmmm. There is nothing else worth watching on TV. – Robert Kuhl

As for me, as I wrote yesterday, I’m in favor of a weekly Friday night game. I believe the impact would be minimal on high school football.

Also, if you spread it around among the 14 schools, you’re looking at a school hosting a Friday night game once every other year. This wouldn’t be for every game. I don’t think it would be that much of a challenge to pull it off.

As one person wrote to Dienhart:

I will take Friday night games over these miserable 11 a.m. starts anytime. – Gerry



Good idea: Big Ten exploring Friday night football games

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany reportedly is looking into the conference playing Friday night games.

I’m good with it.

I have wondered why it has taken the major conferences so long to jump on Friday nights. I would love to watch a Big Ten game on a night where TV doesn’t have much to offer on the football front.

Some smaller conferences have gone the Friday night route. But I’m not a small conference guy.

The idea of a Big Ten game on a Friday night is far more appealing.

Now don’t give me Friday night belongs to the high schools. Fans who attend high school games still are going to go, especially if you have a kid on the team. The impact would be minimal.

The travel inconvenience for fans is a consideration. Playing games on Friday nights would require taking a day off for some people who come a long way to watch the old school. But since when was the fan in the stands a major priority when TV is involved?

The Big Ten contract with ESPN/ABC runs through 2017. After the NBA, it will be the next big TV sports property up for auction. Delany knows the conference is in for a windfall, especially with Fox Sports 1 hungering to get more high-profile live programming.

Creating a special Friday night package only would enhance the inventory Delany would put out to market. Or he could keep it in-house and put the games on BTN, thus increasing the value of his network.

Either way, the Friday night option will be extremely profitable to the Big Ten. Start making your plans now.


Was Manziel auditioning for ESPN last night? Film room was big winner

Some takeaways from ESPN’s megacast of last night’s game.

Johnny TV: The title game was suppose to be Tim Tebow’s coming-out party in his new role as an ESPN analyst. However, Johnny Manziel stole some of his thunder.

Manziel was featured throughout the pregame show and during the game on ESPN’s somewhat bizarre celebrity channel. Clearly, he was there as more than a casual observer.

Johnny Football definitely was auditioning for a post-football role at ESPN. As the Tebow template shows for a much-hyped Heisman Trophy winner, post-football can come sooner than you think.

Manziel definitely passed the test. He was glib, insightful and charismatic. In fact, he was better than Tebow. Last night showed Manziel will be in high demand by the networks after he throws his final pass.

Tebowing: As for Tebow, he showed some potential. He nearly nailed the final score, predicting a 35-31 Florida State victory.

Tebow was good at explaining the strategy and nuances about the big game. He never will be outspoken, but he might be a solid Xs and Os analyst.

Film study: ESPN’s Film Room in which analysts and coaches broke down the game was a big winner. They nailed it by predicting Florida State’s fake punt.

The platform offered terrific and different insights that you don’t normally hear during the traditional telecast. Expect it to be a staple during network coverage of all big events, from the Super Bowl to the World Series to NBA Finals. This was a game-changer.

However, one negative for me: I had trouble with the split screen format. I found the large-view screen extremely difficult to watch in real time. I would have saved that view for replays and use ESPN’s main feed for live action.

Big mess: Not sure what that thing was on ESPN2. Scott Van Pelt wondered the same thing in a tweet.

It was a mish-mosh that was unwatchable at times. While I love Cheryl Hines, ESPN needed to find a better and more relevant sports celebrity to roll out as the first guest.

Next time, I suggest a drinking game involving tequila shots. Would make things more interesting.

ESPN feeds: I didn’t watch much of the stuff on ESPN’s digital platforms. So I’ll defer to Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing.

The local FSU and Auburn radio calls were fun to switch back and forth for a neutral and I can imagine them being particularly popular for fans of either team involved. The BCS Spidercam (the camera directly behind the offense) also drew some positive reviews although there were a couple glitches versus regular viewing. As was evidenced throughout the night, some of the feeds were off sync with the main ESPN telecast. The only people I saw talking about the ESPN3 Fan Cam throughout the evening were employed by ESPN PR.

On the whole, there wasn’t anything on ESPN3 that would jump out at you as a viewing option for the entire game, but a couple interesting novelties worth checking out periodically.

Traditional telecast: All the gizmos were great. However, when the second half rolled around, I found myself needing to focus on the traditional telecast on ESPN.

That’s where you get the most information, and you still need the announcers to guide you through the telecast. The old way still is the best way, but last night also showed the future definitely is here.

Musburger’s last big game? Did he send signal with one last ‘You are looking live…?’

Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but I couldn’t help but wonder if Brent Musburger was sending a signal last night at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Over an aerial shot of the Rose Bowl, Musburger uttered his signature phrase, “You are looking live…”

It seemed like an unusual time to pull out the line. Musburger usually uses it at the beginning of a game.

If last night’s game was indeed Musburger’s final call of a big game, did he purposely want to slip in one last “You are looking live…” for old time’s sake? Definitely seems plausible.

Jason McIntyre of Big Lead wrote previously that Musburger’s contract is up at ESPN. With the playoff starting next season, and with Chris Fowler angling to do more play-by-play, it could be time for ESPN to make a lineup change with its lead college football announcer.

In a tweet last night, James Andrew Miller, author of the mega ESPN book, speculated: “Believe this will be Brent’s last ESPN game. If he stays with ESPN it will be as #1 PxP for new SEC network.”

It makes sense. Musburger lives in Florida. Keeping him in SEC country would reduce some of the travel demands for someone who will turn 75 this year.

However, it is entirely possible that ESPN allows Musburger to usher in the new era for college football. He showed last night that he still has plenty left on his fastball.

Yes, Musburger screwed up the open, calling himself Kirk Herbstreit. It happens.

Instead, focus on the fourth quarter. With the action fast and furious, Musburger rose to the occasion.

He punched the Kermit Whitfield kickoff return with, “And Auburn is stung by its own medicine.”

On Tre Mason’s run to put Auburn back in the lead, he said, “Auburn isn’t out of miracles.”

It was vintage Brent.

If this was Musburger’s last big game, he got a classic. Definitely fitting for a great career.






Championship Monday: Tim Tebow show begins on ESPN; Will this be Musburger’s last title game?

There will be several interesting storylines for ESPN during its coverage of tonight’s BCS title game.

It marks the debut of Tim Tebow as an analyst for the network that can’t get enough of him. It also could be the swan song for Brent Musburger, at least as far as calling college football’s biggest game.

First Tebow:

It is a given: Tebow won’t be your typical football analyst. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times wrote about his teleconference last week.

His responses on a conference call were packed with unyielding positivity. Newly hired analysts are usually happy and upbeat. But Tebow was in a different stratosphere. He used “thank” or “thankful” 14 times. “Opportunity” was mentioned 15 times. In using “relationship” 14 times, he reflected only on good ones, past and present. He said “great” 27 times.

Responding to a question about whether he could be a critical analyst despite his relentlessly rosy outlook, he said: “Well, thank you for saying that I’m someone who’s positive. I would love to continue to be someone who’s positive but also be someone that is objective.” He referred to all ESPN executives, men or women, as Mr. or Ms.

So that obviously begs the question: Can somebody that nice be critical of players and coaches who he believes also are nice? Tebow said:

“I would love to continue to be someone who’s positive but also be someone that is objective. I’ve never had a hard time saying what I believed or standing up for something, and hopefully I can continue to be that same person as an analyst and sharing what I believe about players, about teams, about games.

“I will look at it from an objective prism and try to share an insight with the viewers just like I always have any time I’ve had the opportunity to share.”

Really? Do you think Tebow can be candid? I have my doubts that he will be able to step up on such a big stage.

Tebow, though, does have one thing going for him. ESPN is putting Tebow in a situation where he can succeed. He will be the featured player in the new SEC Network, which begins next year. The Heisman Trophy winner from Florida will be play on TV in friendly territory.

However, none of it will matter if Tebow has nothing to offer and/or if he sugarcoats his analysis. As usual when it comes to Tebow, everyone will be watching once more.


A story that bears watching is the future of Brent Musburger at ESPN.Tonight could be his last big game.

Last month, Jason McIntyre of Big Lead reported that Musburger’s contract with the network expires this year. McIntyre writes:

Brent Musburger, who has been a fixture on ABC Sports/ESPN since 1990, is in the final months of his contract with the network and there are increasing signs he could be replaced in the college football booth next season by Gameday host Chris Fowler, sources tell The Big Lead.

Neither ESPN nor Musburger’s agent – his brother, Todd – would confirm when exactly Musburger’s contract expires, but it is definitely up before the next college football season begins, multiple sources say. Musburger, an iconic announcing figure who turns 75 in May, has called the last four BCS College Football Championship game and will pair with Kirk Herbstreit to call Florida State vs. Auburn on January 6th.

Indeed, this is about Fowler as much as Musburger. Fowler, in an interview with SI’s Richard Deitsch during the fall, said he wants to do more play-by-play.

I have a lot more to do and there are other things I want to do that I have not done. I don’t think it is anything secret internally what I want the next step for me to be at ESPN. I don’t think that is a mystery given the landscape. It’s why GameDay is a unique standalone thing for me. It doesn’t act or feel like a studio show. But the live events are the most inspiring, unexplored thing for me. How so?

Fowler: I really have a passion to document live events as they happen. Hosting is wonderful and remains really satisfying but the joy for me is calling big matches and it was very hard for me to give up calling Thursday Night Football on ESPN. It became too much to manage with GameDay’s increased schedule and travel. But giving up calling football in the booth was the toughest decision I have had to make. That remains something I am drawn powerfully to.

Fowler is the best in the business when it comes to serving as a studio host. However, he knows if he truly wants to be the voice of college football, much like Keith Jackson, Verne Lundquist and even Musburger, it has to be doing play-by-play on games.

With the new college football playoff beginning next year on ESPN, this could be the time where the network makes the switch and allows Fowler to be the man for the next run of big games.

The situation might be comparable to what occurred with Notre Dame on NBC. The network moved out Tom Hammond on play-by-play to allow Dan Hicks to expand his role as the Irish’s new play-by-play voice.

Fowler is a highly valuable commodity for ESPN. The network will want to keep him happy. At some point, it becomes time for the next generation to move in.

According to Deitsch, ESPN isn’t planning any tributes to Musburger tonight. Given all that he has meant to the network and sports TV, perhaps the network gives him a few more big college football games before he calls it a career. Musburger still has his fastball, and few announcers can elevate the level of a big-game call like he does.

Definitely a story to watch.




ESPN planning multi-platforms for BCS game; coverage in various forms on 6 channels

The future is here friends when it comes to coverage of big games.

ESPN is planning to air coverage of the BCS title game on six of its channels. Yes, you heard me, six.

Earlier, Turner Sports announced it will use three of its networks for coverage of the NCAA Final Four semifinal games on Saturday. Traditional national-audience-oriented game coverage will be presented on TBS, while TNT and TruTV will feature telecasts that are specifically tailored to one of the teams competing in each game.

It won’t be long before you see the same format for the Super Bowl and maybe even the  World Series and NBA Finals. It will be a way for the networks to put multiple platforms in play for the big games.

Here’s the official rundown from ESPN:


ESPN – a leader in technology and innovation that enhances the fan experience – will utilize six of its television platforms as well as audio and digital outlets for a “BCS Megacast” presentation of the college football VIZIO BCS National Championship on Monday, Jan. 6, at 8:30 p.m. ET. The special coverage of No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 2 Auburn will expand on ESPN’s prior multiplatform telecasts to provide fans everywhere with the event’s most wide-ranging coverage ever. The BCS Megacast initiative will begin with a simulcast of ESPN’s BCS National Championship pregame show at 8 p.m. across ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Classic and ESPN3.

“BCS Megacast takes our previous multiplatform telecasts to the next level,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, programming & acquisitions. “We realized it would be a tremendous undertaking to coordinate so many coverage variations of the same game when we began brainstorming ideas in September. The exciting part is how much the original idea has grown in the past few months.”

ESPN previously offered three Full Circle presentations featuring various coverage approaches to a single event across multiple TV and digital networks and radio platforms beginning in 2006.

Traditional game coverage will be available on ESPN, ESPN Radio, ESPN International networks and in Spanish on ESPN Deportes. Some details are still being finalized but Megacast concepts currently include:

“BCS Title Talk” on ESPN2 will allow fans to eavesdrop on the casual and organic conversations of ESPN college football analysts and special guests such as coaches, players and celebrities discussing the game from an on-site room. On-screen graphics will incorporate game statistics and information as well as a “social stripe” that will provide live social media feedback throughout the telecast.

“BCS Film Room” on ESPNEWS will feature ESPN experts as well as guest coaches and players providing in-depth X and O analysis of the game as it happens from a film room equipped with multiple camera angles and touchscreens.

ESPN Classic will provide a “Sounds of the BCS” presentation featuring only the natural sounds of the game. The telecast will couple ESPN’s on-screen game coverage with the audio originating from numerous microphones located within the stands, field and more as well as the in-stadium sound system. Classic’s coverage will include the halftime performances of the Florida State and Auburn marching bands.

“BCS Command Center” on ESPN Goal Line will provide a split screen application with live game action and immediate replays of every play. The coverage will use the ESPN Radio broadcast call and incorporate live game statistics on the screen.

ESPN3, in cooperation with IMG College, will offer separate “Auburn Radio Call” and “Florida State Radio Call” presentations. The Florida State- and Auburn-specific coverage will feature the team’s home radio broadcast with an on-screen presentation providing fans with the game feed plus isolated cameras on key coaches and players from that team. The coverage will include the halftime performances of the Florida State and Auburn marching bands.

“BCS Campus Connection” on ESPN3 will showcase live fan reactions from various watch parties within the home markets of Auburn and Florida State into the game coverage.

Fans will be able to watch the entire game from the above stadium camera angle with the “BCS SpiderCam” presentation on ESPN3.

ESPN The Magazine will extend its popular image-driven “1 Day 1 Game” showcase of an entire day around a specific event with a live feed of pictures posted across the platforms and ESPN social media accounts during the Championship game.

In addition to’s extensive lead-up, in-game and post-game coverage, the PlayCenter application will serve fans with in-progress highlights from the site’s homepage.

ESPN will use also use its various social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter within the coverage. Potential content includes behind-the-scenes insights, statistics and information, interaction with fans, and more.

ESPN International networks will televise the BCS in Australia/New Zealand (ESPN Pacific Rim); Latin America North & South; Brazil; Caribbean; Japan (via J-Sports) and Canada (via TSN and RDS).  ESPN’s broadband service, ESPN Player will provide live and on demand coverage in to more than 40 countries in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, while ESPN syndication partners will televise the BCS in the UK, parts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, Malaysia, India and China.





Question restrictions placed on Jameis Winston interview?

Update: Paul Pabst, producer of the Dan Patrick Show, just sent along the following tweet:

@PaulPabst @Sherman_Report @romenesko We had Jameis on Monday and neither FSU nor Heisman PR gave us any restrictions. None.


Should be an interesting time for the national media and Jameis Winston during the week prior to the BCS title game. reports of a CBS reporter who declined an interview with the Heisman Trophy winner after restrictions were placed on him.

@jeffglor Was scheduled to interview Jameis Winston at 12:30. @floridastate tried to put restrictions on interview topics at last minute. We said no.

Romenesko writes:

I called the Florida State athletic department and was told there are no restrictions on interviews with the Heisman Trophy winner. The spokesman said he didn’t know anything about the CBS News interview that was canceled because of topic restrictions.

OK, why then did CBS pull out on the interview?

Obviously, Florida State needs to figure out a media strategy for Winston during BCS week. The school should just let him field the questions. From what I’ve heard, he seems more than capable of answering them.



Flashback: My lunch with Desmond Howard day after his famous Heisman pose

With the Heisman Trophy being announced Saturday, I thought I would share my favorite Heisman story from my years on the college beat in the late 80s and early 90s.

I covered Desmond Howard’s final home game at Michigan in 1991 when he capped a punt return for a touchdown by striking the Heisman pose in the endzone. The snapshot will endure forever.

Yet what I remember most is what happened the next day. On a quiet Sunday, Howard, the toast of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the entire country, met me for lunch at a hotel.

The Michigan sports information department set up the interview. I was stunned that he agreed, given all the commotion. Surely, he had better things to do (like sleep) than have lunch with me on the day after his signature game against Ohio State.

“No, he’ll be there,” I was told.

Sure enough, Howard showed up, unescorted.

We sat in a corner table, and I remember the startled reaction from the waitress when she realized she was serving the soon-to-be Heisman Trophy winner.

Howard and I chatted for about 90 minutes. He was an uncommon young man back then.

Looking back, I wonder if a reporter would get that same kind of access in today’s media age. Somehow, I doubt it.

I went back and found the Chicago Tribune story I did from that memorable interview.

For the better part of 90 minutes over lunch, the conversation didn`t focus on football. Rather, the young University of Michigan student preferred to talk about his encounter with a famous sociologist, black heritage, his talks at juvenile homes, his desire to become a Ph.D., among his other areas of interest that are far away from the field.

It`s the other side of Michigan wide receiver Desmond Howard, the side people didn`t care about when he was sitting in the restaurant. A steady stream of autograph seekers, at least 10, visited the table, and they didn`t want to know Howard`s views on society.

“Great punt return against Ohio State, Desmond.“

“You`re amazing to watch, Desmond.“

“I don`t know much about sports, but my son would kill me if I didn`t get your autograph, Desmond.“

Some people were courteous, and some were rude. And Howard`s star only is beginning to rise. It`s little wonder that Michael Jordan can`t go out in public.

Howard, though, didn`t seem to mind. After all, if he weren`t a star, he`d be just another student.

But, he cautions, don`t stereotype him as just being another football player. There`s much more to Desmond Howard than reinventing thrills in the open field.

“Being a football player is a part of me,“ he said. “But it`s not the biggest part of me.“

Later I wrote:

“You don`t learn about history by just reading books,“ Howard said.

“They don`t teach you that stuff in school. I like to seek out knowledge. Being a scholar has been very rewarding. I want to investigate things for myself.“

Toward that end, Howard tells of seeking out Harry Edwards, the noted sociologist and black leader. As a freshman, Howard heard Edwards speak, and something registered.

So much so, that when Howard was visiting a friend in California, he made him drive up to the University of California-Berkeley, where Edwards teaches, to meet him. Howard didn`t have an appointment; he just showed up on his doorstep.

“I heard him say some things that I hadn`t heard before,“ Howard said.

“I was interested in all the things he`d been through. I wanted to meet him.“

Howard also foreshadowed what he wanted to do after football.

Beyond football, Howard wants a career as a public speaker. That`s why he`s majoring in communications.

“I`ve been around a lot of college professors who don`t have the ability to hold an audience,“ Howard said. “That`s where the communications comes into play. I want to be an effective speaker.“