Former Dolphins great Dan Marino lost his marquee television job on Tuesday when he and CBS parted ways after 12 seasons as an analyst on its NFL studio show.
CBS also dropped Shannon Sharpe and hired former All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez for its pregame, postgame and halftime programming.
Marino’s next career move is uncertain. His agent, Marvin Demoff, conveyed through his assistant that he would not be answering questions about Marino on Tuesday, and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross declined to respond when asked if he would have interest in hiring Marino.
But the Dolphins have not pursued Marino this offseason, even though they were aware that he potentially would be interested in a role with the organization. According to an associate, Ross has felt no need to hire a Bill Parcells-type president who would oversee football operations.
CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said Marino’s departure “was a collaborative decision – us wanting to make some changes and Dan wanting to pursue other professional opportunities. We both decided it has been a great partnership. Dan remains a very good friend. He will hopefully find something every bit as challenging.”
McManus said he wasn’t sure what opportunities Marino planned to pursue.
CBS has a game analyst role open following the retirement of Dan Dierdorf, but McManus said that job was offered to neither Marino nor Sharpe.
“Both are really good at studio analysis,” McManus said, adding he had no issue with Marino’s job performance. “We didn’t think they were interested” in the game analyst role.
Though it's clear CBS wanted to make changes with Marino and Sharpe on its main studio set, McManus said “there would have been a role” for Marino if he had wanted to remain at CBS anyway, but “I’m not sure what the role would have been.” (CBS Sports Network has a Sunday morning cable pre-game show, but it would have been difficult to envision Marino doing that job after being on the main network for a dozen years.)
CBS likely will add a fifth person, likely a former defensive player, to join James Brown, Gonzalez, Bill Cowher and Boomer Esiason on its studio show.
Marino, 52, spent his entire 17-year career with the Dolphins, retiring after the 1999 season, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005, his first year of eligibility.
He had been with CBS since the start of the 2002 season. Early in 2004, he returned to the Dolphins as senior vice president of football operations but resigned three weeks later, saying the role was not in the best interests of himself or his family.
Marino and the Dolphins spoke about a role two years ago, but the Dolphins never pursued the matter.
During his broadcasting career, Marino also spent six seasons as an analyst on Inside the NFL, from 2002 to 2007, when the program aired on HBO. It now airs on Showtime.
Of the Gonzalez hire, McManus said: “We’ve been talking to Tony on and off for a long time now. I always thought he had great potential to be a studio analyst.”
### Couple other notes, from my conversation with McManus: He said he hasn’t decided who will replace Dierdorf as his No. 2 game analyst. He said “one scenario” is bumping up the No. 3 team (Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts) to the No. 2 team. (The No. 2 team gets a playoff assignment.)
Another option is pairing Greg Gumbel with Fouts or another analyst. My sense is Fouts will get the job. And keeping him with Eagle would make sense, but that’s my opinion, nothing McManus said…
McManus said with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms working 14 Thursday games and one Saturday game next season, he’s leaning toward having them work Sunday games only on weeks when CBS has a double-header. “Thursday night is our highest priority,” he said.
Please see the last post for LeBron James' latest comments about his future, if you missed the post from late last night.