Shannon Sharpe has reportedly reached a buyout agreement with FS1 that will end his tenure as Skip Bayless’s co-host on the popular debate show Undisputed.
Sharpe, whose Hall of Fame NFL career has now dovetailed into a successful post-football television career, will become a media free agent.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith responded to the news that Sharpe would be on the market, and made it clear that he was open to having him on First Take.
“I don’t know what his plans are. I don’t know what he’s trying to pursue. I don’t know what he’s after. But if Shannon Sharpe needs me, I’m happy to be here for him,” Smith said on the Stephen A. Smith Show on Friday. “And if that included him wanting to come on First Take, the bosses at ESPN know that is something that I would support.”
It is unclear what specifically led to Sharpe’s decision to split from Bayless on Undisputed, but tension between the two has mounted in recent months, notably when Bayless tweeted about NFL scheduling issues moments after Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field during Monday Night Football in January.
Smith has made it clear in the past that Bayless remains one of his close friends, and has indicated on numerous occasions that he owes much of his success with First Take to Bayless, who was his longest-tenured co-host before Bayless left for FS1 in 2016.
Upon hearing Smith’s openness to having Sharpe join him on First Take, fans of the show were elated on social media. Here are the best reactions to Smith’s comments on his podcast on Friday.
Playmaker, Stephen A and Unc during football season? Lawd— Andy (@ballinandy24) June 2, 2023
💯💫— Marcedes Lewis (@MarcedesLewis89) June 2, 2023
Stop playing and make the call upstairs we need ESPN back back like in the 2000s.— Ricky B. (@MrRickySpanish) June 3, 2023