ESPN has confirmed that Sean Salisbury, a 12-year veteran of the four-letter network's TV and radio, is done in Bristol.
"Sean Salisbury has made many contributions to our efforts for the past 12 years. We thank him and wish him all the best," said ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer.
For his part, Salisbury and his agent put a positive spin on the move, talking of "expanding his horizons" and the like.
It's not surprising at all that Salisbury is out. What's surprising is that it took this long. The guy had turned into a bad parody of himself, straining to sound opinionated and controversial while protecting many players and coaches who he considers to be friends and sources.
Probably the last straw came in early February when, in the midst of one of their staged "debates", Salisbury went over the edge and referred to John Clayton as "the crypt-keeper". (You Tube video)
He was suspended a few years ago in what ESPN called some sort of an internal discipline matter. It turns out that it was a sexual harassment incident. Salisbury used his cell phone camera to take pictures of his manhood and circulated the shots around the Bristol campus, including to some female staffers. They were not amused and the perp was put on the shelf for a couple of weeks.
As Redskins fans know, it's likely that those pictures revealed an undersized pair of stones. In 2005, the Skins were in the midst of rallying from a 5-6 mark to a 10-6 record and a playoff spot. There were many doubters during the run, including Salisbury. He chose to express his doubt in his usual phony way, saying that if the Redskins made the playoffs he would walk naked from Bristol to Washington, D. C.
After the season ended, his statement was forgotten by everyone except Redskins fans. Letters and emails to ESPN headquarters calling upon management to force Salisbury to keep his word went unheeded. During the NFL draft, Joe Gibbs called out Salisbury on the matter during an interview with Trey Wingo (You Tube video, it's near the end of the clip).
Salisbury did respond, lamely suggesting that he said that he would take the nude strut only if the Redskins made the Super Bowl. He said that he would check the clips, though, and get back to us.
We're still waiting. He should have plenty of free time on his hands now.