Jaworski in, Theismann out at 'MNF'


NEW YORK -- ESPN sent "Monday Night Football" analyst Joe Theismann to the sidelines and called up former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski to replace him.

Theismann, who apparently didn't know about the change until a meeting late last week, might end up with another football-related role at the network. Jaworski will join returning play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico, analyst Tony Kornheiser and sideline reporters Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya for the show's 38th season this year.

The move comes amid talk about the lack of chemistry between Theismann, the former quarterback of the Washington Redskins and a longtime broadcaster, and Washington Post columnist and ESPN host Kornheiser. Kornheiser publicly fretted in a Post column that he had lost his "snark" during the first several broadcasts.

An ESPN executive was circumspect about their choice to replace Theismann.

"Joe Theismann did a phenomenal job for us for a long time, for almost 20 years," said Norby Williamson, executive vp studio and remote production. "Joe, we're focused and having discussions with him to have him stay with ESPN in a prominent football role. I would be remiss if I didn't mention what Joe means to his company."

When asked in a conference call why ESPN gave no indication of being unhappy with Theismann, Williamson said: "I don't think we are unhappy with him, to be honest with you."

He declined to specify what role, if any, Theismann would take with the network.

Jaworski, a minority owner of the Philadelphia Soul of the AFL, said that he was asked by Williamson to take over the "MNF" analyst role during halftime Thursday at the Philadelphia Soul-Colorado Crush game.

"I was surprised but certainly accepted very quickly," Jarworski said. "At that point, that was the first I had heard of an opening at 'Monday Night Football.' "

Jaworski's NFL career ended in 1989; he joined ESPN the next year and has done just about all the on-air roles imaginable. Last year he appeared on "Sunday NFL Countdown," "NFL PrimeTime" and "NFL Match-Up" and has worked with Kornheiser and co-host Michael Wilbon on "Pardon the Interruption."

"He's performed at an exceptionally high level on all those disciplines," Williamson said of Jaworski.
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