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Madden's Radio Interview

John Madden announced his retirement from broadcasting this morning in a written statement issued by NBC.

Madden didn't participate in a noon conference call with reporters that included Dick Ebersol, the chairman of NBC Sports, and Sandy Montag, Madden's longtime agent.

But he did make his regular appearance on a Bay Area radio station, KCBS.

Here's what he said:

"I've decided to retire. Heck, I can't even say it. But I've decided to retire and it's tough, not because I'm not sure it's the right time. I really feel strongly that this is the right time. But I'm just gonna miss everything about it because, you know, I enjoyed it so much. It's one of those things, when you get around 70 you have to start thinking at some point it's gonna be over. But I was one that always believed you never say you're going to retire before you do because once you say it, then you've already done it in your mind and you've already quit.

"So the last three or four years, I would, you know, do every year and then I would kind of in my mind take two months, which I think you have to do, and then think about it. And that's what I did. We did the Super Bowl and I've thought about it the last two months. And I vacillated. Sometimes, you know, I felt I'm gonna do it, and then there would be days I'm gonna retire. And then finally I was up against it. The two months were up. The NFL schedule was coming out and I said, 'This is what I'm gonna do.' So I called Dick Ebersol about a week ago and told him. And then he came out yesterday and we talked about it.

"We talked about some other possibilities and I said, 'No, I'm ready to do this.' One of the points I made is now my grandkids are old enough that they know when I'm gone and when I'm not. When they were younger, you know, they weren't always sure. This year is my 50th wedding anniversary. That comes in December. I have to be there. Anyway, you just add up everything and it's just the right time. It's kind of on my terms. There's nothing wrong. You know, everyone is gonna say, 'Madden retires. What's wrong?' There's nothing. There's nothing wrong with me. I'm in the middle of a contract. I have three more years on my contract at NBC. So it's not that.

"It's not that I'm tired of traveling on the bus. But you just get to the point and you know at some point you have to do this. And I got to that point. And the thing that made it hard is not because I'm second-guessing is it the right decision, but I enjoyed it so damn much. You know, I enjoyed the games and the players and the coaches and the film and the travel and everything. So that's why it took me so long--I know I'm rambling here, but what the heck--I know that if you hated part of it, or if there was something wrong, it would be easy: 'I'm tired of travel. I'm tired of football.' But I'm not tired of anything. But I'm going away. That's what makes it hard."

***

"It's the second time I've done it. When I coached the Raiders, I kind of did it that way. I didn't say, 'This is gonna be my last year,' or anything. I kind of took some time off and felt that I didn't want to go through it again, and that was it and I still love pro football and so I'm retiring. Then I came into television broadcasting and it was the same way. It wouldn't have been me to say the week of the Super Bowl, 'This is my last game.' That's not me. I don't do that. And I wouldn't do that, and I don't believe in it.

"I'm a grinder. You just grind and you go through it. Then when it's all over, you think about it and you don't rush into any decisions because, you know--we've talked about this with coaches and athletes and stuff--at the end of the season, you are tired and it kind of drains you. A lot of people think of quitting or retiring and then they do it, and then they start to feel better and they want back. So I had to guard against that. I didn't want one of those things, you know, right after the Super Bowl I retire and then two weeks later say, 'Hey, I was just kidding. I want back.' And so I had to make sure that wasn't going to be there. I had to make sure that when I did this, that I was sure about it and, like I said, Dick Ebersol, Sandy Montag came out yesterday and we talked all about it.

"We talked about other possibilities, other things that I could do like part of a season or something like that or announce I'm retired and then do some more games--no, I just want to [retire] and he's gone."

***

"I didn't plan it that way. I didn't say that I want to do the Super Bowl and go out. This is my third year at NBC. I enjoy the heck out of it. I enjoyed Al Michaels, and before that Pat Summerall. I just had great broadcast partners. And then, the last game I did was the Super Bowl, which is pretty good. But again, that wasn't planned. I didn't say that I want to go out on a high note. I want to go out on a Super Bowl. That wasn't part of it.

"It just boils down, at the end, it's just time. Like I said, this is the right time. I strongly believe that this is the right time. This is the right thing, and you just do it. Now, is it easy? No, I love it too much for it to be easy."

***

"I'm still gonna travel. That's the thing. I'm not gonna stay put because I can't do that. And I'm still gonna have the bus and I'm still gonna go to things. Like I'll be going to the Hall of Fame in August. There's always gonna be something coming up. So it's not that I'm gonna stop traveling or stop doing stuff. I'm still gonna be doing things. I'm just not gonna be doing pro football on television any more."

***

"I kind of missed a lot of that with my own sons. You know earlier, when [his grandchildren] were babies, they really didn't know when you were there and when you weren't. Now, you know, Sam was just 8 last week. He's the oldest one. But they're 8,7,6,5,4,3. So now they know. They know when I'm here, and they know when I'm gone.

"If you look at the Sunday night schedule--and I said this before the schedule came out... that's why I contacted Dick Ebersol before, because I didn't want anyone to say that he saw the Sunday night schedule and decided to retire. I decided before that. But if you look at the [Sunday night] games, there's not only no Raider games, no 49er games, there's no games in California. And there's only one game on the West Coast, and that was in Arizona. Everything else is in the East so it would be the type of thing where you go away in August and you come back in January. Like I said, I just get to the point in my life that that's not the deal any more. That's not it.

"It was great. It was a great ride. I enjoyed every part of it. But, you know, that part of my life has come to an end now."

***

"I've always felt that I'm the luckiest guy in the world. It's not something that was planned. It's not something that I said, 'This is what I want to do.' And, you know, I remember when I went into the Hall of Fame and John Robinson was there--you know, just two doofuses from Daly City [Calif.]... and then you end up in the Hall of Fame, doing all this stuff. I've just had great support--great support from my family, great support from pro football, from Al Davis, from the networks, from Pat Summerall, from Al Michaels. I've just had great people that I've been with.

"It will be the first year that I haven't had a football season since my freshman year in high school. I've had a season every year because I went from player to coach, and from coach to broadcaster, and in my life I've never had a season off. I've never had a football season off. This will be the first one."

By Mark Maske  |  April 16, 2009; 3:07 PM ET  | Category:  Television Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Thanks Mark.

Posted by: delOH | April 16, 2009 4:18 PM

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