ESPN has been playing without its biggest star for over a month now as Stephen A. Smith rehabs from shoulder surgery and enjoys some well-earned vacation as well. There was some speculation the organization would get him some innings in the minors — shooting B-roll of a high school football practice or hosting afternoon drive in Albany — but it appears he'll jump right back into the fray on First Take beginning August 15th.
We know this because they gave him his own hype video announcing the long-awaited return. Which is simply not something we see every day for specific ESPN talent — if for any reason there were lingering doubts about Smith's unique place atop the call sheet.
It's wild to consider how many pent-up takes he'll have to unleash upon the masses. It's funny to imagine him stomping around with no television outlet for his latest Dak Prescott opinion. But that's all about to change.
That first Wednesday back with Chris Russo getting a little too comfortable lately? It will challenge the idea that 10 a.m. is too early for popcorn.
Go ahead. Pretend you haven't missed the comforting blanket of SAS making waves five days a week. You're only lying to yourself.