ESPN eyes Ben Watson for Night net TV role, SN sources say

Night net null ESPN is eying former Night net star Ben Watson for a TV role, sources tell Sporting News.Watson, who just retired from the Saints after a 15-year career, is viewed as one of the most TV-ready talents on the free-agent market. MORE: 2019 Night net Draft prospects: Big board of top 100 playersThe former Saints-Ravens-Browns-Patriots player made a strong impression during CBS Sports' "Super Bowl Today" pregame show, discussing social justice initiatives with James Brown, Amy Trask and the Night netPA's Troy Vincent. ESPN declined comment on Watson. Mark Lepselter, president at MAXX Sports Entertainment Group, declined comment on Watson’s talks with specific TV suitors.But he said Watson (a frequent guest on cable news networks like CNN) has a “voice that goes far beyond the X’s and O’s” of football. “Benjamin’s ability to engage people on social issues, and do so in a thoughtful manner, is very rare,” Lepselter said..@JBsportscaster, @AmyTrask, @TroyVincent23 and @BenjaminSWatson discuss the current state of the Night net.— Night netonCBS (@Night netonCBS) February 3, 2019The 38-year-old Watson is viewed as one of the Night net's most thoughtful players, receiving multiple nominations for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award recognizing "excellence on and off the field." But Watson is also known for telling it like it is.When Watson's Saints were robbed of a trip to Super Bowl 53 after the infamous non-call against Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, he politely but firmly ripped Night net Commissioner Roger Goodell's "unbecoming" public silence on the matter. "Lead by example," Watson urged Goodell on Twitter..@nflcommish— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) January 24, 2019After the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, Watson's heartfelt Facebook essay went viral. The father of five kids then authored a book on race relations called "Under Our Skin." ESPN recently parted ways with Charles Woodson after three seasons on Sam Ponder's "Sunday Night net Countdown." I could see Watson sliding into the studio chair vacated by Woodson on "Countdown," which is still trying to find a solid formula after the departure of legendary anchor Chris Berman.Like Tony Romo, Watson knows the current pass-happy Night net offense inside and out.He played with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in New England from 2004 to 2009. So he can dissect the Pats system. We know already that the Bristol, Conn.-based ESPN likes to hire ex-Pats such as Tedy Bruschi.While I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the #FergusonDecision Read More:— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) November 26, 2014But if Watson wants a big TV job, he might have to compete with another star Night net tight end: Greg Olsen of the Panthers. Olsen has appeared on both ESPN and Fox Sports.While he plans to play in 2019, Olsen will likely be snapped up by a TV network once he hangs up his cleats.MORE: Breaking down everything in that epic "Night net 100" commercialMeanwhile, former Night net head coach Re

x Ryan could be the wild card as ESPN revamps its pregame/postgame studio coverage for Sundays and "Monday Night Football."After a rocky first season on the air (in which Ryan appeared to be biding his time until the next coaching job), the ex-Jets coach embraced TV in his second season. By the end of the 2018 season, I thought he was the sharpest, most entertaining analyst on "Sunday Night net Countdown."Ryan was even better, I thought, during his Monday morning hits with Mike Greenberg on the daily "Get Up!" morning show.If Ryan doesn't return to the Night net as rumored, he could be rounding into the top-tier studio analyst ESPN thought it had hired in 2017.