Bryant Gumbel leaves NFL Network


NEW YORK -- After two years of calling games for the NFL Network, Bryant Gumbel is leaving the football field.

The NFL Network announced late Friday that Gumbel won't be back for a third season for the channel's eight-game packages. The NFL Network declined to comment about possible reasons for Gumbel's departure, which was apparently a mutual decision.

"We've agreed that we'd all be better served going in different directions," Gumbel said in a statement. He couldn't be reached for comment.

The choice of Gumbel as the network's first play-by-play announcer raised eyebrows in 2006, when the channel tapped him and analyst Cris Collinsworth as their broadcast team for the Thursday night and Saturday night games late in the season. Gumbel had never done football play-by-play before, although the former "Today" host had a long resume in broadcasting.

Gumbel's day job is as host of the Emmy-winning "Real Sports" on HBO.

The NFL Network said Collinsworth would remain as the analyst and that it would start working on finding a new play-by-play announcer before the package begins in November.

"We appreciate everything Bryant did in helping us launch our NFL Network game telecasts," NFL Network President/CEO Steve Bornstein said in a statement. "Bryant helped create interest in our first foray into televising NFL regular-season games."