Peter King, the most recognizable NFL writer in the country, is seriously contemplating leaving Sports Illustrated when his contract expires shortly after the Super Bowl, sources tell me.
The buzz in NFL media circles is that King is genuinely torn between the idea of returning to SI or possibly taking Monday Morning QB over to NBC Sports. Would the lure of NBC – say, an enhanced role on Sunday Night Football? – be too much for SI to overcome? I emailed King this week and asked him about the situation. This was his response:
my deal with SI is up shortly after the Super Bowl, and I’ve been there 23 years, and I love it there, and no company has been better to an employee than SI has been to me. I am where I am today because of SI. I truly don’t know what I’m going to do. We’ll see what options I have, if any.
Besides NBC going after King, you have to wonder if the NFL Network makes a play for him. NFL.com has hired a slew of talented reporters, and could easily offer King a TV show on the NFL Network with all that air-time to fill. And what about ESPN? If ESPN went after Rick Reilly in 2007 with the primary purpose of trying for a kill shot at SI, wouldn’t they do the same by going after King?
One could argue Peter King will be the most coveted NFL free agent come February – even more than Mike Vick.
Losing King would obviously be a severe blow to SI. Is any other sports writer as synonymous with their brand as King is with SI? Maybe Bill Simmons with ESPN