SI.com is reporting that Keyshawn Johnson will not be returning to ESPN following the end of his contract which ends at the end of the NFL season.
Johnson joined ESPN in 2007 as a NFL studio analyst the same day he announced his retirement from the National Football League. He appears on Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and Audibles, as well as ESPN’s NFL Draft and Super Bowl week coverage.
In addition to his television work for ESPN, Johnson contributes to ESPN Radio onMike Tirico’s Weekend Blitz on Fridays during the NFL season, and he is co-host of the self-titled “NFL @ LA with Keyshawn Johnson” on 710 ESPN Radio in Los Angeles.
Johnson made his ESPN debut as a guest analyst (while still a member of the Carolina Panthers) on the main set during the 2007 NFL Draft. He has served as a guest host on ESPN and ESPN Radio programs. His on-air contributions have extended beyond football through personality and issue-oriented features and as part of major event coverage on both ESPN and ABC, including the SportsCenterWho’s Now series in 2007 during which he, Kirk Herbstreit and Michael Wilbon helped determine the “Ultimate Sports Star.”
The top overall pick by the New York Jets in the 1996 NFL Draft, Johnson played for four teams – Jets (1996-99), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2000-03), Dallas Cowboys (2004-05) and Panthers (2006) – during his 11 NFL seasons. One of the most productive receivers of his era, Johnson had 814 receptions for 10,571 yards and 64 touchdowns in 167 games. The three-time Pro Bowler helped lead the Buccaneers to a win in Super Bowl XXXVII. In his final season in 2006, he caught 70 passes for 815 yards and four touchdowns, becoming just the 16th player in league history with 800 career receptions.
This may also be the first in a series of changes for ESPN’s flagship NFL coverage with the contracts of Chris Berman and analyst Mike Ditka are believed to expire after the 2016 NFL season.
There is no word yet on who will replace Johnson. ESPN has been trying to cut costs while facing rising rights fees and a decreasing subscriber base. The network announced layoffs late last year.