Bengals legend Boomer Esiason opens up about CBS Sports exit: 'I loved my time there'


Four-time Pro Bowler and Cincinnati Bengals Ring of Honor member Boomer Esiason is leaving CBS amid a shakeup at “The NFL Today.”

Phil Simms also won’t return to the long-running pregame show, CBS announced in April. 

Matt Ryan and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt will join “The NFL Today” crew. Last month, Ryan officially retired from the NFL. He last played in the league in 2022 and called games for CBS last season. 

James Brown will return as the show’s host, along with former Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson and Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Cowher. Although Esiason is leaving CBS Sports, he appears satisfied with the job he did and felt it was the right time to move on.

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Boomer Esiason stands on the football field

CBS Sports analyst Boomer Esiason before the AFC championship game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs Jan 30, 2022, at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.  (Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“I was more than happy to step aside. I had my time there,” Esiason, 63, said during an interview on “The Dan LeBatard Show.”

“I loved that seat. I cherished that seat. I cherished talking to football fans every Sunday, but there comes a time when you have to find some time for yourself. And this was the right time.”

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Esiason confirmed his CBS exit on WFAN, but he will remain at the radio station and work with his co-host Gregg Giannotti.

Boomer Esiason smiles

Boomer Esiason attends the 2022 Paramount Upfront at 666 Madison Avenue May 18, 2022, in New York City. (Arturo Holmes/WireImage)

Esiason said he held back from saying anything on-air during the network’s 2024 Super Bowl coverage, but he appears to also be looking forward to enjoying a better work-life balance.

“When Sean McManus, who did hire me back in 2002, announced his retirement as CBS Sports chairman, I felt like it was a natural thing,” Esiason said. “I wanted to say something at the Super Bowl. I didn’t think it was appropriate. I knew that Phil (Simms) did not want to retire from this particular show. I was ready. Twenty-two years. I have not had a weekend in 40 years. … For me, it’s been a great run.”

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Esiason said he enjoyed his time working at CBS and appears to be leaving on good terms.

“Not one person at CBS, not one boss, not one producer, not one director ever came to me and said, ‘Maybe you should back off with that kind of criticism,’” Esiason noted. “I’ve had a number of controversial topics that we had to deal with in the NFL over the last 20 years. So, I loved my time there. I have no ill will toward anybody.”

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