(This article is completely humorous and fictional.)
AUGUST 30, 2009: HATTIESBURG, MS-- Breaking news out of Mississippi today, where it appears that NFL legend John Madden will end his "extremely long" four-month retirement to once again call games on television, just in time for the beginning of the 2009 regular season.
Although previously employed by NBC, Madden was granted his release from the company just last week after saying that he would "definitely stay retired", and immediately, rumors began to fly that the Hall of Famer would pull an about-face and sign with ESPN as soon as possible.
According to sources close to Mr. Madden, his main motivation in this reported return is "revenge". Madden's agent told Sports Illustrated insider Peter King that his client was "extremely disappointed by the way NBC 'immediately' moved on and hired Cris Collinsworth" to fill his vacant chair, even though the former first-round pick had been groomed as his successor for many years. Madden was quoted as "wanting to stick it to" his former employer, and reportedly looks forward to going head-to-head with NBC twice a year in a ratings-slugfest.
(Although, in related news, whenever said agent was reached for comment, he claims to know nothing of Madden's plans. "If he's coming back, that's news to me," is the only official quote B/R could get from the agent, one Bus Cook. "Until I hear otherwise, John is still retired.")
Rachel Nichols is reporting that the only delay in the process is a concerning x-ray of Madden's right tonsil, which had caused him great pain during several games last year and seemed to be one of the main reasons for his retirement. According to Nichols' on-the-spot report in Mississippi, if there is any serious damage to the tonsil, the Worldwide Leader will not offer the veteran commentator a contract.
ESPN's president doubts that will be a problem. In fact, he told reporters yesterday, "Madden's a Hall of Fame announcer. He’s a great wordsmith. Ultimately, you’ll have to ask John what his plans are, but sure, there’s interest in John Madden. Again, it’s part of a process we have in general with any of our analysts. We’re always looking to make our team better.”
The colorful ex-coach is coming off a career-worst in fumbled words; according to one report, he was averaging four giveaways a game. The unbiased observer has to wonder if the future Hall-of-Famer is forever tarnishing his legacy by refusing to leave the game in a timely fashion.
This reporter thinks it's incredibly convenient to retire in the offseason, skip all the work of studying film and learning plays, then jump right back in the week before the regular season begins. No work, just the games. What a life.
At least Madden's only considering doing this once. If he pulls this shenanigan five years in a row...
...he'd be Brett Favre.