My latest Chicago Tribune column is on David Diehl, who is starting his second career as an NFL game analyst for Fox.
You also can access the column via my Twitter feed at @Sherman_Report.
From the column:
Graduating straight from the field to the analyst’s chair on network NFL games is usually reserved for Super Bowl glory guys like Phil Simms and Troy Aikman.
Then there’s David Diehl. The 11-year offensive lineman for the New York Giants has two Super Bowl rings, but hardly the glory.
Yet Diehl, who retired after the 2013 season, bucked the odds by landing the coveted gig at Fox. Sunday, he will analyze his second straight Bears game in Atlanta on WFLD-Ch. 32.
This opportunity, though, didn’t just happen for Diehl. It was the result of a master plan that dates back to his days at Illinois, where he has degrees in communications and human resources.
“I always was thinking long term,” said Diehl, who grew up on the South Side attending Brother Rice. “I knew football doesn’t last forever. It could be over with one play. I needed a game plan for life.”
When Diehl landed with the Giants, he decided to take advantage of playing in the nation’s No. 1 media market. While some of his teammates hid from the pesky reporters, he never met a microphone he didn’t like. He viewed interviews as a chance to enhance his public speaking skills.
Then Diehl took his media training several steps further. He enrolled in the NFL’s broadcast boot camp, a program that trains players for post-playing careers in the media. He also participated in several New York-based and SiriusXM Radio shows, working on getting his “reps.”
So when Fox called asking him to audition for an analyst’s job, Diehl knew he was ready.
“I literally worked my butt off to figure out how everything works (in broadcasting),” Diehl said. “I never was a silver spoon guy. As an athlete, you want to be challenged. This is a brand new challenge. But by the same token, I’m using the same things that have gotten me this far in life.”