NFL

Trent Dilfer reportedly leaving ESPN … will he join the 49ers?

The 49ers will once again play the late Monday Night Football game in Week 1. However, if this report from the New York Daily News is correct, Trent Dilfer probably won’t be the color analyst for that game.

NFL TV sources say Trent Dilfer, one of ESPN’s most engaging NFL analysts and member of the “Monday Countdown” crew, is likely headed out the door. Spies say money is the issue.

Most engaging? Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s famous line comes to mind here. Anyway, Richard Deitsch, media writer for Sports Illustrated, included this on Dilfer in his column yesterday.

I’ve been told by reliable ESPN sources that Dilfer still remains at ESPN but the direction, as the DailyNews reported, will likely head elsewhere. If and when that happens, it’s a remarkable change of direction given Dilfer was once considered the front-runner to replace Gruden should he opt back into coaching. Dilfer served as the analyst for the late game of the Monday Night Football opening doubleheader for the past couple of years. The recently hired Matthew Hasselbeck will be traveling to the Monday Night Football site so he will take over some of Dilfer’s responsibilities. Said ESPN: “We are in the process of determining our NFL assignments for this fall.”

Despite only playing one year (and poorly, to boot) for the 49ers, he has been a loyal mouthpiece for the organization since retiring. It’s well known that he and Jed York are friends, and Dilfer himself even admitted to being a “49ers apologist” in February. So unless he’s heading to one of the many other networks aligned with the NFL in some shape or form (Fox, CBS, NBC, NFL Network), the following rumor makes some sense.

Brown wrote more about what he’s heard at Niner Noise.

Dilfer’s role will likely be on the coaching side, and could include developing Driskel primarily or preparing Gabbert and Kaepernick to be successful in head coach Chip Kelly’s offense.

However, seeing how the 49ers have run through radio analysts, would it be all that surprising to see him replace Tim Ryan? If that took place, Dilfer would become the fourth analyst in the last seven seasons (the same number of head coaches they’ve gone through over that period, coincidentally).

For now, there’s nothing concrete about any of this. Dilfer is still with ESPN and sources’ rumors don’t always come true. Yet with Dilfer seemingly a part of the 49ers organization from afar for so many years, it seems like a safe bet that he’ll have a role with the team at some point in the future.

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Update (via Cam Inman):

Trent Dilfer shot down Internet rumors Monday that he could be joining the 49ers in some capacity upon leaving his role as an ESPN analyst.“I have no intention of joining the 49ers,” Dilfer told this newspaper in an exclusive phone interview. “I have never been talking with the 49ers about this and I’m focused on continuing my broadcasting opportunities.”

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