With Tony Romo and Jay Cutler going directly from the NFL to the TV booth this offseason, we are entering a new era of football broadcasting.
The annual NFL Broadcast Boot Camp kicked off this week, giving some former and current NFL players a chance to get a little more training than Romo and Cutler as well as a potential career after football.
Now that players aren’t limited to serving as pregame and postgame analysts as they break into the broadcasting world, let’s take a look at which attendees at this year’s boot camp would make the best in-game commentators.
Ware is likely the only future Hall of Famer attending Broadcast Boot Camp this spring, and no one earns that kind of reputation without some solid insight to share.
The recently retired 34-year-old is the consummate professional, so sharing personal, behind-the-scenes stories from his playing days is likely out of the question – which is too bad, considering his relationships with Von Miller, Peyton Manning, and Romo, among others.
Ware may not offer a point of view that we haven’t already heard from other quality defenders who have opted for media careers, but his professionalism and preparedness would be among the best.
The former Bengals and Browns receiver certainly has a story to tell, and the courage to say what others may not.
Hawkins has been one of the vocal leaders among players regarding social causes, wearing a “Justice for Tamir Rice and John Crawford” shirt before a game in 2014 to protest the police killings of the two young black men.
The 31-year-old also has his own rags-to-riches story, playing two years in the CFL and competing on Michael Irvin’s “4th and Long” reality show in 2011 for a shot at the NFL.
Any chance to find out what Bill Belichick is really up to back there is worth it.
A slimmed-down version of Vollmer shared his plans to retire Tuesday after a year on the shelf with a hip injury. The 32-year-old spent his entire eight-year career learning from Belichick while protecting Tom Brady, and surely has a worthwhile point of view to share.
Vollmer is also a native of Germany, and could give North American fans an idea of what it’s like to view the NFL on the international stage.
If you’re excited to hear if Cutler might blast the Bears from the booth, Rolle might be your man.
The three-time Pro Bowler was livid after Chicago released him last spring, vowing to “bust their ass” once he landed on a new team. Rolle couldn’t find a new squad, resulting in his retirement after an 11-season career, which likely didn’t help his distaste for the Bears.
Rolle had been a captain and vocal leader throughout his tenure as a pro, and hopefully won’t hold back if he cracks into the broadcasting business.
Backup quarterbacks always have the best stories.
Gradkowski is the definition of a journeyman quarterback, playing for five teams over 11 seasons, with only 20 starts under his belt. The 34-year-old played under the likes of Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay and Al Davis in Oakland, as well as behind quarterbacks JaMarcus Russell and Ben Roethlisberger.
With brief bouts of success sprinkled throughout his NFL journey, Gradkowski could give the everyman look at what it’s like to go to work every day beside the league’s newsmakers.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)
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