My latest Chicago Tribune column is on the logistics and expectations for Brandon Marshall being a regular member of Showtime’s Inside The NFL this year.
You also can access the column via my Twitter feed at @Sherman_Report.
From the column:
Showtime always wanted to have a current player on its panel for “Inside The NFL,” but the logistics never could be worked out. Even with the show moving this season to Tuesdays, the day off for NFL players on most weeks, Stephen Espinoza, the general manager for Showtime Sports, still thought the prospect of landing an active player was “a longshot.”
With the cast of “Inside The NFL” being revamped this year, Espinoza was thinking former players when he asked Josh Pyatt, an agent, if he knew of any potential candidates.
“Josh asked if I would be interested in a current player,” Espinoza said. “He said, ‘I have somebody willing to do it.”
It turns out Pyatt represents Brandon Marshall.
After many discussions and getting approval from the Bears, Marshall now becomes the first active player to work a weekly NFL studio show. He will make his debut Tuesday at 8 p.m. with the season premiere of “Inside The NFL” on Showtime.
Espinoza is thrilled to have Marshall on board. During most weeks, Marshall will be in New York in the studio with Greg Gumbel, Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason, and Ed Reed.
“From our perspective, having Brandon is a no brainer,” Espinoza said. “He’s articulate, intelligent and he’s one of the best players at his position…For instance, the (change in pass interference rules) is going to be a big issue this year. Now we’re able to get the perspective of a current player on it. It’s a huge boon to the show.”
Espinoza is well aware of the concerns of Marshall’s participation in Chicago. First, there’s the travel issue and whether it will sap his energy on what should be a rest day.
The plan calls for Marshall to fly on a private plane to New York on Tuesday mornings. He would tape the show from 11 a.m. to 2 or 3 p.m. Then he would hop back on the private plane and return home by late afternoon/early evening. It’s not as if Marshall will be waiting in lines at LaGuardia.
“It’s a fun show,” Espinoza said. “It’s not a taxing day.”
There are contingency plans in place if there are weather issues regarding flying; if Marshall needs to stay in Chicago for treatment for an injury; and for the weeks the Bears play Monday and Thursday games. He will do the show via satellite from the Bears’ studios at Halas Hall.
“Brandon has made it clear that his performance on the field is No. 1, 2, and 3 priority,” Espinoza said. “We’re clear on that as well. All deference will be given to his team obligations.”