Eagles fans are going to hear a familiar voice in the booth this year.
Former Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez has bolted from ESPN and signed a new deal with FOX Sports that will place him on NFL broadcasts this season.
Sanchez, 34, is expected to call games alongside play-by-play announcer Kevin Kugler, who replaced Thom Brennaman after he used a homophobic slur on the air while calling a Cincinnati Reds game last season.
“I am thrilled to not only be making the move to FOX Sports but also to the game analyst role,” Sanchez said in a statement. “This is something I have worked toward since the day I retired, and short of playing, there’s nothing I have been more excited for in my entire career. I can’t wait to get this season started.”
Eagles fans should hear a lot from Sanchez this season. He’s replacing defender-turned-analyst Chris Spielman, who left FOX in December to join the front office of the Detroit Lions. Kugler and Spielman called two Eagles games last season and three games in 2019.
Sanchez spent the past two years at ESPN as part of the network’s high-profile college football studio team on ABC alongside Temple grad Kevin Negandhi and former NFL linebacker Jonathan Vilma. He also made regular appearances on a number of ESPN shows, including Get Up! and SportsCenter.
While most NFL fans associate Sanchez with his four years on the New York Jets, he spent two seasons in Philadelphia, where he started the second half of the 2014 season after Nick Foles broke his collarbone. Though Sanchez played well, he remained the backup quarterback behind the newly acquired Sam Bradford and was traded to the Denver Broncos during the 2016 offseason. He made stops in Dallas and Washington before retiring in 2018.
ESPN’s Mike Wilbon wants someone to rescue Ben Simmons
Mike Wilbon, the longtime cohost of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, has joined the long line of pundits who think Ben Simmons’ time in a Sixers jersey is over.
Wilbon thinks the Sixers should be able to demand an All-Star player in exchange for Simmons, whom he called a “hell of a player.” But regardless of the compensation, Wilbon thinks the former No. 1 pick needs to pack his bags before the City of Brotherly Love ruins him.
“Save Ben Simmons. Get him the hell out of Philly,” Wilbon said.
This is a reversal for Wilbon from a couple of years ago, when he said there was no way he would consider trading Simmons.
“I’m not trading Ben Simmons,” Wilbon said on ESPN’s First Take in 2019. “I’m tired of all the talk about what Ben Simmons doesn’t do. ... So now he’s got to be Reggie Miller and Ben Simmons? He’ll get better.”
According to columnist David Murphy, one potential landing spot for Simmons is Cleveland, with the Cavaliers possibly dealing Darius Garland or Collin Sexton and Larry Nance Jr. to the Sixers.
“Simmons would be the perfect complement to either Garland or Sexton,” Murphy wrote. “His pass-first mentality would slot nicely next to a dribble-drive volume scorer while dramatically upgrading the Cavs’ perimeter defense.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said the Eagles were the “best equipped” team to trade for Houston Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson during an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic’s The John Kincaid Show. Watson has shown he can be a top NFL quarterback, but he faces numerous sexual assault allegations. Schefter said if those allegations are settled, “the Philadelphia Eagles will be waiting.” Watson is the subject of 20 civil suits accusing him of inappropriate contact and sexual assault.
ESPN’s Maria Taylor is nearing a deal to join NBC Sports, where she could become the new host of Football Night in America, according to Front Office Sports’ Mike McCarthy. Taylor hosts ESPN’s NBA Finals pregame show on ABC, and her contract reportedly ends July 20, meaning she might need to be replaced before Game 6 on Tuesday. Fellow ESPN host Rachel Nichols was removed from the network’s NBA finals coverage because of a leaked recording of her complaining that she was replaced by Taylor to satisfy diversity issues.
The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday to even the NBA Finals at 2-2. But it was Game 3 on Sunday that caught the attention of actor Jack Black, whose ears rang when he heard play-by-play announcer Mike Breen praise Milwaukee’s defense.