According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, ESPN is making a run after NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin to replace Kellerman on a part-time basis on First Take. Irvin reportedly would only be a guest commentator. The deal isn’t finalized just yet, though.
“Get ready for some potential TV fireworks. ESPN is considering bringing on Michael Irvin to debate Stephen A. Smith on ESPN’s “First Take,” sources tell Front Office Sports,” McCarthy writes on FrontOfficeSports.com.
“The deal to bring Irvin aboard as a guest commentator is not finalized said sources. It’s expected to be limited to ‘First Take.’ The NFL Network analyst is not expected to appear on ESPN’s ‘Sunday NFL Countdown’ or other NFL-related programming. ESPN is eying NFL Mondays as a natural staging ground for Irvin vs. Smith on ‘First Take.'”
This wouldn’t be the first time Irvin and Smith have squared off on First Take. The former NFL great has gone head-to-head with Smith multiple times over the years, often engaging in heated debates about trending topics within the sports world.
— Michael McCarthy (@MMcCarthyREV) August 24, 2021
From the sound of it, ESPN isn’t looking to find a permanent replacement for Max Kellerman, at least at the moment.
The network clearly wants Stephen A. Smith to be the sole face of First Take and give him notable analysts to work with on a rotating basis.
Michael Irvin would be just one of ESPN’s rotating guests to debate Smith in coming months.