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Taylor Twellman is leaving ESPN, what will he do next?

Taylor Twellman is leaving ESPN, what will he do next?

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Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff
Taylor Twellman (left), honored at The Tradition in 2021, scored 101 goals for the Revolution from 2002-2010. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Chad Finn, The Boston Globe

January 7, 2023 | 10:12 a.m

For those unfamiliar with some of the decisions ESPN has been making regarding football lately, it might have come as a surprise when Taylor Twellman tweeted on Friday afternoon that his time on the network is coming to an end after nearly 13 years.

After all, the former Revolution star has been one of ESPN’s most prominent football advocates and voices as the sport’s popularity escalated in the United States, taking another big leap with the recent Men’s World Cup.

And Twellman is knowledgeable, versatile, and engaging enough to continue to be a welcome contributor to debates and studio shows. So what gives?

“It was 100 percent my decision,” said Twellman, whose contract is expiring and has been offered a new one. “We had nice conversations, it wasn’t anything like arguing, fighting. It was exactly the right time after 13 great years.”

Twellman hasn’t decided on his next move yet, but he does have options including football media, a broader media role, and maybe even a management gig somewhere. “I’m in the process of figuring everything out,” he said, “but I don’t think it’s going to take much time.”

Had Twellman been restocked with ESPN, he would have had something of a role reversal. ESPN has drastically reduced its football coverage, particularly in relation to rights deals, even as the sport continues to grow in popularity across the United States.

It lost UEFA Champions League rights to CBS ahead of the 2021/22 season and is no longer a television home for MLS, which now has a streaming deal with Apple TV, while Fox holds the linear rights. The 2026 World Cup will also be broadcast on Fox, and since the US men’s team isn’t required to be of any quality as one of the hosts, ESPN should have broadcast minimal games in the meantime.

Twellman would have taken on some football responsibilities had he been renewed at ESPN, but his role likely would have been more of a talking head than one of football’s standout voices.

“The World Cup is coming into your backyard and now you’re getting out, or at least downsizing. That’s pretty revealing,” he said. “But you know me. No matter where I go, I will be the greatest champion in the world for this sport.”

Allegro has left a lasting mark

Jim Allegro, a former Holy Cross football star and longtime television executive who was a key, respected figure behind the scenes in shaping ESPN, died on New Year’s Eve in St. Augustine, Florida. He was 88 years old.

Allegro, who held senior finance and operations roles at Capital Cities/ABC prior to ESPN, was ESPN’s chief financial officer and executive vice president from 1990-1995. During this time he was instrumental in the creation of ESPN2, ESPN Radio and the ESPYs.

His greatest contribution, however, was his leadership role in founding the V Foundation, named for legendary college basketball coach and ESPN analyst Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in April 1993 at the age of 47. The foundation has raised more than $310 million in grants for cancer research. Allegro remained Chairman Emeritus of the V Foundation until his death.

Commendable reporting

Writing last week about ESPN’s updated coverage of Bill’s safety Damar Hamlin collapsing after a goal in Monday night’s game, I underscored the excellent work done by Ryan Clark and Scott Van Pelt that night at SportsCenter. One person I overlooked: Lisa Salters, the most trusted sideline journalist, who kept vividly describing the scene without delving into speculation. Salters was close to tears at one point speaking about the shroud being thrown across the stadium and the horrified looks on the faces of the Bills and Bengals players, and while some might suggest reporters should be stoic, are human emotions welcome in such circumstances… CBS The NFL’s No. 1 broadcast team, consisting of Jim Nantz, Tony Romo and sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson, will cover the important and certainly emotional Bills-Patriots game on Sunday. It’s their second Patriots game this season, the first being New England’s 27-24 overtime loss to the Packers in Week 4. Opinions differ about the networks, but I appreciated that CBS’s No 2. Joining Ian Eagle, Charles Davis and Evan is Washburn at the last two Patriots games (Bengals, Dolphins). I would take the trio every week.

Many eyes on Fenway

The Bruins’ 2-1 win over the Penguins on Monday in the Winter Classic was the most-watched NHL regular-season game of all time on cable television, averaging 1.8 million viewers on TNT. That was 31 percent more than last year’s Blues Wild match, which drew 1.4 million viewers. The appeal of the Bruins and Penguins was certainly part of the rise, but excuse me if I attribute most of it to the spectacular aesthetic of Fenway Park as the winter setting… Rich Keefe deserved better in WEEI’s recent cast reshuffle. He’d developed good-natured chemistry with Andy Gresh by lunchtime, and he deserves a much bigger role than weekdays. Meanwhile, the addition of Adam Jones to WEEI’s afternoon schedule appears imminent. Mentions of Jones, the intramural Michael Felger, have mostly been removed from 98.5 The Sports Hub’s website, where he hosted the evening program until his contract expired at the end of the year… In case you missed it, the news of Rafael Devers turned 11-year broke Carlos Baerga’s $331 million Red Sox contract extension on Twitter. Baerga, who played for the Sox in 2002, was also first to sign Justin Verlander with the Mets last month, but has sniffed some other reports. I could think there is a trend for former Red Sox Utility players to come up with information when Chris Stynes ​​tells us how this Carlos Correa situation is going to be resolved.

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