Kornheiser Leaves MNF After Three Seasons

Kornheiser (Jim Mone - AP)
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kornheiser Leaves MNF

Monday Night Football tried a Cowboy, a comic, a columnist and a Cosell. To fill the latest vacancy in the broadcast booth, ESPN went with a winning formula -- a coach, and a Super Bowl champion at that.

Fresh off getting fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jon Gruden was hired yesterday to replace Tony Kornheiser this season.

Kornheiser, a Washington Post contributor, cited a fear of flying in his decision to leave after three years.

Gruden, 45, who coached Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl title in 2003, will join Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski when the show starts its 40th season this fall.

Kornheiser, who replaced comedian Dennis Miller, will continue to appear on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption."

"My fear of planes is legendary and sadly true," he said in a statement released by the network. "When I looked at the upcoming schedule it was the perfect storm that would've frequently moved me from the bus to the air."

"If I could handpick a replacement of a football guy, I would cast a net and drag in Jon Gruden," Kornheiser said. "He is the two things you most want -- smart and funny -- and has the two things I don't -- good hair and a tan." . . .

The Pittsburgh Steelers' James Harrison, the NFL defensive player of the year, said he'll skip the Super Bowl champions' visit to the White House to meet President Obama on Thursday, just as he did when the Steelers were honored by President George W. Bush in June 2006.

"I don't feel the need to go, actually," Harrison told Pittsburgh station WTAE-TV. "I don't feel like it's that big a deal to me."


West Discusses Ailment

For the first time, former Los Angeles Lakers star player and executive Jerry West discussed in detail his five-decade battle with the condition that led him to retire from the team's front office nine years ago. It's a disease that mostly affects the elderly, but the man whose silhouette graces the NBA logo said he has been dealing with it since his 20s.

He would have to breathe into a paper bag during games to keep from hyperventilating, and his heart sometimes felt out of rhythm.

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