Tom Jackson Briefly Resumed His Role on 'NFL Primetime' in 2019 — Where Is He Now?

What happened to Tom Jackson on ESPN? Tom first announced his retirement in Aug. 2016. He briefly returned in 2019. Read on to find out more.

Leila Kozma - Author

Sep. 14 2021, Published 9:26 a.m. ET

Former NFL player and sportscaster Tom Jackson first announced his retirement from the Sunday staple NFL Primetime in 2016, after 29 years. He briefly returned in 2019, only to give over his seat to Booger McFarland for the 2020 season.

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Tom first joined ESPN as one of its first NFL studio analysts in 1987, after a decade-long run as a Denver Broncos defensive linebacker. Over the past decades, Tom garnered popularity among die-hard football fans. So, what happened? Is he still with ESPN?

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Tom Jackson first announced his retirement in Aug. 2016.

Tom announced that he was leaving ESPN in 2016. In a press statement, he emphasized that his priorities have changed over the years and stated that he was eager to spend more time with his family.

"I have been blessed in my adult life to work for two companies, the Denver Broncos and ESPN, to do two things that I love — play football and talk about football," Tom told ESPN. "Having joined in the early stages of ESPN and remained with the same company for 29 years is especially gratifying."

"The friendships made are too numerous to mention, but I know that many of them will last a lifetime. I also want to thank all the fans who supported me over the years and made my job so enjoyable," Tom added. "This move just comes at a time when the priority of my life is spending time with my family."

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The announcement came as a big shock to fans, many of whom had grown to love his dynamic with Chris Berman, his NFL Primetime co-host.

"Kinda sad watching Tom Jackson retire from ESPN. Grew up watching NFL Primetime," wrote @JPriceDawgfan.

Tom Jackson briefly returned to ESPN in 2019, only to leave again in 2020.

Tom resumed his role on NFL Primetime in 2019, after a three-year hiatus. He and Chris (who stepped down from his role at NFL Primetime in 2017) both returned for a batch of new, digital-only episodes exclusively airing on ESPN Plus.

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But the changes didn't last long. Tom announced in Sept. 2020 that he wouldn't be returning to the studio because of the risks associated with COVID-19. It's uncertain what Tom's next plans might entail. Chris continues to host the show.

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Tom has yet to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Although Tom received the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award in 2015 (which is presented by the Pro Football Hall of Fame), he has yet to receive his much-deserved spot inside the archive. Neither Tom nor the rest of the Orange Crush Defense has been honored — which continues to baffle many fans.

Tom has, however, received a range of awards and recognitions. A three-time MVP with the Denver Broncos, he was inducted into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame in 1992, the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.

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