Stephen A. Smith has finally revealed his thoughts on Shannon Sharpe’s upcoming departure from Fox Sports 1, sharing that he would invite the three-time Super Bowl winner to appear on ESPN’s First Take, but only as guest, and not as a co-host.
On Wednesday, it was announced that Fox Sports and Sharpe agreed to a buyout, putting an end to the analyst’s seven-year run as co-host of ‘Undisputed’ alongside Skip Bayless.
During an episode of The Stephen A. Smith Show on Friday, Smith floated the idea of pairing up with NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe on ESPN’s First Take.
Smith’s idea of bringing Sharpe to the show comes as the former NFL tight end reportedly reached a buyout agreement with Fox Sports to exit his role as co-host of Fox Sports 1’s Undisputed later this month
“When news was announced that Shannon Sharpe had been bought out of FS1 and he would be leaving at the conclusion of the NBA Finals, there were two things that came to my mind,” Smith said.
“That’s a big loss for the show ‘’Undisputed’’ because Shannon matters, and that I don’t know what his plans are, I don’t know what he’s trying to pursue, I don’t know what he’s after, but if Shannon Sharpe needs me, then I’m happy to be there for him.”
“And if that includes wanting to come on ‘’First Take,’’ the bosses at ESPN know that is something that I would support.”
Smith said he wouldn’t consider Sharpe as a day-to-day on-air partner on his show, but that he’d add the former tight end to the weekly rotation that also includes the likes of Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson, Ryan Clark, Dan Orlovsky, Marcus Spears and Damien Woody.
“I’m telling you right here: if Shannon Sharpe wanted to join that roster, there’s no resistance from Stephen A. I’ve got love for Shannon Sharpe,” Smith said.
Details of Sharpe’s buyout from the network have not been released. However, there was seemingly a rift between the 54-year-old and Bayless prior to Sharpe’s reported decision to leave the network’s flagship talk show.
Hostility appeared to surface between the two after Bayless made a controversial tweet following Bills safety Demar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest during Buffalo’s game against the Bengals on Jan. 2. Bayless doubled down on his tweet, despite Sharpe asking him to remove it.