According to Andrew Marchand, NBC has declined ESPN’s initial request to engage in trade talks for broadcaster Al Michaels.
“We look forward to Al completing his contract and calling ‘Sunday Night Football’ games on NBC,” Greg Hughes, an NBC Sports spokesman, told Marchand.
ESPN had hoped to pair Michaels with Peyton Manning in the broadcast booth to call Monday Night Football, per a previous report. Michaels still has two years left on his deal with NBC, which is why a trade was discussed.
Marchand says this still doesn’t necessarily rule out a trade at a later date. Michaels was traded from ESPN to NBC in 2006 for the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and those negotiations developed over months.
Marchand adds ESPN has already begun talks with Manning regardless of not having Michaels on board.
Manning has turned down multiple opportunities to start a TV broadcast career and is said to be waiting for the exact right role. If ESPN can’t land Michaels, some sources say Manning would also like to work with former C Jeff Saturday.
Marchand reports some other options for ESPN include former Chargers QB Philip Rivers and retired QB Kurt Warner. ESPN has also toyed with the idea of a Steve Levy, Louis Riddick and Brian Griese booth, according to Marchand.