Keyshawn spurns Titans to join ESPN

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 1:00am

The Tennessee Titans did not lose out on Keyshawn Johnson to another NFL team, instead they lost to the self-proclaimed worldwide leader in sports.

Johnson is expected to announce his retirement from the NFL today to join on as a broadcaster with ESPN and ABC, his agent Jerome Stanley told The City Paper.

�Keyshawn has been in the league for 11 years, and this is a great opportunity for him to join the ESPN/ABC family with a multi-year commitment,� Stanley said. �He reflected upon his career and came to the conclusion that he has accomplished virtually everything he could have wanted to accomplish as an NFL player. He still has gas left in the tank, and it�s good that he can go out this way, rather than someday not being able to finish on his own terms.�

The Titans had Johnson, 34, in for a visit on Friday, and were in negotiations to land the veteran wide receiver, who was the first overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.

According to Stanley, the Titans were an appealing option and made a very competitive offer to land Johnson, who has known Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher since Fisher played at the University of Southern California in the late 1970s and Johnson was a ball boy there.

�The Titans made a very serious competitive commitment to try and land Keyshawn. It was a multi-year deal in the $7-8 million range,� Stanley said. �Keyshawn�s relationship with Jeff Fisher and the situation with their young quarterback [Vince Young] made it a very attractive option.�

ESPN has a news conference scheduled for 3:30 p.m. to announce a major addition to its broadcast lineup. Johnson drew rave reviews for his work with ESPN during the NFL Draft.

Johnson was released by the Carolina Panthers days after the draft following a 70-catch season in 2006.

�He leaves having finished up on a high note with the season he had last year and having played nearly 90 percent of the offensive snaps,� Stanley said. �He still has some gas in the tank to play, but he would rather finish this way with his body intact instead of waiting to the point where he could no longer play at a high level.�

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