Former Alabama QB Greg McElroy to Join SEC Network

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2014

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Less than a week—and barely more than a weekend—after announcing his retirement from the NFL, former Alabama, New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Greg McElroy is reportedly signing a long-term deal as an analyst with the SEC Network.

According to Michael Casagrande of

By Monday, he'll be announced as the newest addition to the SEC Network's stable of analysts. The exact details are still being ironed out, but the former Alabama quarterback is signing a long-term deal with the network launching Aug. 14, 2014.

McElroy joins analysts Jesse Palmer and Tim Tebow and commentators Paul Finebaum, Brent Musburger and Joe Tessitore.

Joining forces with Tebow and Palmer is a fitting position for McElroy, who is, like them, another highly successful college quarterback who fizzled out of the NFL. In his three seasons as a pro, McElroy had less completions (19) than the number of games he won with the Tide (24):

But McElroy is also well-spoken and engaging—exactly the type of person who does well on TV. He is an eloquent storyteller who understands the game well, even if he wasn't physically gifted enough to enjoy a long career in the pros.

Before being selected in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL draft, McElroy spent five years in Tuscaloosa under Nick Saban, starting in 2009 and 2010. He was the QB of the team that went 14-0 and beat Texas in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game, finishing his career with 5,691 passing yards, 39 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

McElroy explained the difficulty of his choice to Casagrande:

You grow up wanting to play in the NFL and loving playing the game. I started playing this game when I was 8, and for the first time in 17 years, I won't be putting on shoulder pads and a helmet every day in the fall. It will be difficult, but I know that with the opportunity to work for ESPN and cover a conference I'm so passionate for, there were just too many positives to overlook.

It doesn't take a long, fruitful NFL career to become a good football analyst. Perhaps the best in the business right now is ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit, who started only one season at Ohio State and never suited up in the pros. Thriving in the booth and on the field require a different type of skill set.

According to Albert Breer of NFL Network, some folks think McElroy will have it.