WATCH MAGAZINE_October 2021_CSI:Vegas


Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, and Detroit Lions, putting together a respectable highlight reel yet never earning a slot in the Pro Bowl. After he retired in 2014, however, Burleson’s career took o: He began his TV journey by doing color commentary for Lions pre- season games. Since the premiere of Good Morning Football in 2016, Burleson has co-hosted the year-round show. In 2017 he joined CBS as a studio analyst for The NFL Today . In 2019 he branched out into entertainment news, becoming a correspondent for Extra until this past summer. In addition, he hosts a podcast with Uninter- rupted, does voiceover work with Draft Kings, produces art, poetry, and music—rapping under the stage name New Balance with the Seattle-based hip-hop group Wizdom. He’s opened restaurants and launched a clothing label and a jewelry line. While his multi-multi-hyphenate status may make Burleson seem like a jack of all trades, he was recently recognized for his mastery of one in particular. This past June, he won two Emmys: Outstanding Sports Personality/Studio Analyst and Outstanding Playo Coverage for his work as a color commentator on Nickelodeon’s NFC wild card game. And there are more exciting roles that lie ahead for Burleson. As part of a newmulti-platform agreement across CBS News, CBS Sports, and ViacomCBS’s Nickelodeon, this month he’s joining CBS’s morning show as co-host with Gayle King and Tony Dokoupil. Unlike many former athletes, broadcasting is not a coda to Burle- son’s career. For him, football was a preamble to his calling. At first, after retiring, “I didn’t want to admit I missed the game so much, that I liked when people told me how great I was,” Burleson says. “When people talk to me about what I’m doing on TV, it just validates the hard work.”

Without being boastful, you’re able to speak highly of your accom- plishments and ability. Have you always been a confident guy? NB: I don’t know if I was extremely confident. I was the third of four boys. I kind of found myself sandwiched in the middle, not neces- sarily struggling with confidence, but struggling to be seen. I would draw and be really into music and art and stage—because I wanted the attention. My oldest brother, Kevin, was the uber-athletic one— the hooper. He was the first person that showed me you can fall in love with the sport. I tell people this all the time: If I loved football as much as Kevin loved basketball, I would be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there’s no question about it. Did your father, who was a star defensive back at the University of Washington and then played professionally in the CFL and USFL, encourage you to pursue pro football? NB: You know, it’s funny: My dad wasn’t one of those fathers that walked around constantly talking about his career. I would meet his old teammates at sporting events, and they’d say, “Your dad was a hell of a football player.” I became really curious: How good was he? I remember this one day, going and searching in boxes [where] I knew that he kept his old memorabilia. It was like a treasure chest to me. All this University of Washington Huskies stu—old school, from the ’70s—USFL L.A. Express stu, Calgary Stampede stu. I’m putting it on like I’m getting ready for Halloween. I got the wrist- bands, the jersey, helmet‚ and I’mmixing all these dierent teams. Everything too big for me. I’mwalking around the house and he’s like, “Where’d you find that?” And then I found these old tapes. It was him at the University of


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