ESPN analysts and anchors appear to even talk about Tim Tebow off the air.
During what appeared to be an unscripted moment at Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday, NFL analyst Mark Schlereth and anchor Hannah Storm could be heard taking about the uncertain future of an unnamed player widely assumed to be Tebow. During ESPN's coverage of Media Day, the live broadcast cut abruptly away from an interview with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to a shot of Storm and Schlereth seated. Schlereth seemed to be talking to Storm about an unnamed player and his ability -- or inability -- to switch positions.
"... it's like a tight end, h-back instead of a quarterback," Schlereth could be heard saying as the broadcast switched to the unsuspecting pair. "But I'll tell you something, I've talked to a bunch of the Broncos coaches and they're like, 'I just don't know if he's a fluid enough athlete to go over and play tight end. He doesn't catch the ball naturally, either.'"
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Does that sound like Tebow?
Regardless of who it was, Schlereth's expression isn't one that any player wants to be made at his expense. Before the conversation can go much further, Storm seems to be alerted to the situation and cuts off the chat. A moment later, ESPN switches back to an interview with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
To his credit, Schlereth seemed to take his hot mic moment in stride, tweeting the Shutdown Corner story about it.
The former NFL player, who spent half of his 12-year career with the Broncos, also responded to an apparent Tebow supporter who took issue with his commentary.
Based on his recent comments to ESPN New York, former Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum wouldn't likely argue with the scouting report that Schlereth relayed, if he were talking about Tebow. Tannenbaum's ill-fated trade for Tebow was a high-profile blunder in his final year in New York.
"We thought there was a role for him," Tannenbaum told Rich Cimini of ESPN New York in his first public comments since being fired. "Working with Rex every day, and seeing the way the league has evolved with the ball being in the quarterback's hands and making plays with your feet, we thought it would give us a chance to make our offense more dynamic. It just didn't work out that way."
(H/T Business Insider for video)