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From the column:
The new NFL season also means some new faces and lineup changes on the TV front. Here is a scouting report:
Transition: Even after Tony Gonzalez played his final game for the Atlanta Falcons and signed on as the new analyst for CBS’ “NFL Today,” he still had some teams calling him to see if he would come back for an 18th season.
Gonzalez declined. He insists his football interaction now will be talking about the game, not playing. He is done trying to chase the elusive ring.
“I don’t even want to play anymore,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve had my fill…My body feels good. I’m going to like being warm and cozy in the studio.”
The future Hall of Fame tight end was the biggest name on the free agent TV market this year. CBS moved quickly, hoping his popularity as a player will transition over to its revamped pregame show.
Out are Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe. Besides Gonzalez, former New York Jets’ linebacker Bart Scott also joins a cast that includes holdovers Boomer Esiason, Bill Cowher and James Brown.
Many former players struggle with the critical element when they move from the field to the studio. They are reticent to knock players who they recently played with or against.
Gonzalez said that won’t be a problem for him. He can’t wait to let loose.
“Honestly, (being able to criticize) probably will be the best thing about this,” Gonzalez said. “I get a chance to be honest. As a player, you’re not always honest, nor should you be. When you get a microphone in your face asking about the team, you always played the game. You don’t want to put out bulletin board material. I’m looking forward to going out there and giving my true opinion now.”