Chris Berman stepping away from being face of ESPN's NFL coverage

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ESPN's NFL coverage is losing one of its most popular talents and one of its biggest voices.

Chris Berman, the network's long-time sportscaster, will no longer be the face of the network's NFL coverage, ESPN said in a statement on Thursday.

Berman, 61, will also be leaving his roles leading the network's "NFL Draft" coverage as well as its broadcasts of Major League Baseball's "Home Run Derby."

However, Berman will not be leaving the network all together. He will still make appearances on-air from time to time and will "also serve in public-facing roles on behalf of the company," according to the network.

He'll also continue to host ESPN's "NFL PrimeTime" from the field after the Super Bowl, will participate in the ESPYS, and handle play-by-play on radio for the MLB's divisional playoffs.

Berman, who started a month after ESPN's inception in 1979, has been a foundational talent at the Worldwide Leader in Sports for nearly four decades, helping to turn it into one of most popular networks in TV history.

His catch-phrases like "He could... Go... All... The... Way!" and "Back, back, back, back, back!" became iconic in the sports world as well as his punny nicknames for athletes like Jake "Daylight Come and You Gotta" Delhomme and Scott "Supercalifragilisticexpiali" Brosius.

The 2016 to 2017 season of Sunday NFL Countdown will be Berman's 31st and final year as host. He has covered 34 Super Bowls, hosted the NFL Draft since 1987, and was a six-time recipient of the National Sportscaster of the Year award.

"The whole experience here has been a dream come true," Berman said. "When we started in 1979, I was just 24. Nobody knew if ESPN would make it, or, for that matter, if cable TV would make it. I certainly wasn't sure I would make it, but I really didn't care. We were too busy having a blast, talking sports with viewers who were just like us, even if it was during the wee hours of the morning."

ESPN President John Skipper added in a statement that "Chris is one of a kind. His innovation, passion, preparation and on-air acumen have helped define ESPN."


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