Aikman exploring broadcasting options

Wednesday, April 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ Troy Aikman figured broadcasting NFL Europe games would be a good way to get paid to travel overseas and see the sights. He came back thinking about making television a second career.

Two years later, Aikman is a lot more interested. He's trying to decide whether to take a job playing football or talking about it, and plans to choose in about a week.

The former Dallas Cowboys star said broadcasting would be a way for him to leave the NFL, yet stay close to it.

``It's something I think I'd enjoy doing,'' Aikman said Tuesday before throwing out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers' home opener. ``I've done it over in Europe and I enjoyed it while I was over there. So I think that would be the interesting thing about it.''

Network executives love hiring big-name, recently retired players, especially guys as articulate as Aikman. His previous experience makes him even more attractive.

``Various networks liked what they heard, so there's been some talks as a result of that,'' Aikman said. ``But if that was something I was going to do, it would still be something pretty new and I'd have to work my way into it, there's no question.''

Aikman said if he gets into broadcasting, it would likely be as a game analyst. But he'd be open to anything.

``It depends on what they'd like me to do,'' he said. ``The people who are talking have said they'd prefer me to do games. I think a lot of it will just depend on if that's the route I decide to go.

``If it's Fox, their studio situation is pretty much established. If it's CBS or another, then I think there's maybe a bit more room there.''

Fox, which Aikman worked for in Europe, is looking for a game analyst to replace Matt Millen, who joined the Detroit Lions as president and CEO.

ESPN lost ``NFL 2Night'' studio analyst Marty Schottenheimer, who left to coach the Washington Redskins.

Aikman has been out of work since being waived March 7. The team he led to three Super Bowls and six division titles in 12 seasons cut ties to avoid a dlrs 7 million bonus and seven-year contract extension due if he was on the roster on March 8.

He's coming off the worst season of his career, and there are questions about his durability. He missed five games last season because of injuries and was knocked out of three more, all in the first quarter.

He also has suffered four concussions in his last 20 starts _ giving him 10 in his career _ and has a degenerative back problem.

Although Kansas City is the only team known to have contacted Aikman about being a starter, he said there have been others.

``The thing that's been most encouraging for me has been that the various clubs have been very positive about what my skills are,'' Aikman said. ``They feel like there's no question that I can play, that I'm not a washed-up 34-year-old quarterback. That obviously makes me feel good going into it.

``But the health is obviously a concern. It's a concern with me and it's a concern with the teams.''

He surely has the confidence to continue.

``I think that there's a large number of teams I could go play for and be an improvement to their ballclub,'' he said. ``I don't know that anybody walks away from the game feeling that they just can't do it anymore. That's certainly the case with me.''