Report: ESPN might sign Michael Irvin to spar with Stephen A. Smith on 'First Take'

·1-min read

Max Kellerman is out

ESPN needs fresh talent to shout opposite Stephen A. Smith on the network's morning ode to its "embrace debate" mantra "First Take."

Insert Michael Irvin. Reportedly. Maybe. 

Front Office Sports' Michael McCarthy reported on Tuesday that ESPN is "considering bringing on Michael Irvin" and is engaged in talks with the Hall of Fame receiver that are "not finalized." If talks bear fruit, Irvin would join Smith once a week on Mondays to presumably shout about the previous day's NFL happenings. 

Michael Irvin and Stephen A. Smith banter at the Harold and Carole Pump Foundation Gala at The Beverly Hilton on August 20, 2021 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)
ESPN is reportedly looking to amp of the volume as it embraces debate. (Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Smith and Irvin have history

Irvin would be a natural fit for the format as a veteran commentator equal to the bombastic task of matching wits with Stephen A. Since retiring from the Dallas Cowboys, Irvin has worked as an analyst for NFL Network and previously on ESPN's "Sunday Countdown" among other gigs. He's rarely shy with his opinions or his enthusiasm.

Speaking of the Cowboys, "America's Team" and its fans are among Smith's most frequent targets. Smith and Irvin have previously squared on "First Take" with the Cowboys as a central theme. It all adds up to a natural pairing for the show's formula.

If the two sides reach an agreement, ESPN would still need to find sparring partners for Smith the rest of the week. Per McCarthy, candidates include Marcus Spears, Keyshawn Johnson and Jay Williams, all of whom already work for the network. 

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