DRAFT GURU, NETWORK PARTING AFTER 22 YEARS
By ANDREW MARCHAND
October 15, 2004 -- Mel Kiper Jr. is off ESPN's draft board, NYP TV Sports has learned. After a 22-year run as ESPN's NFL draft expert, Kiper is being let go by the network.
"ESPN will not be renewing Mel Kiper's contract," Mark Shapiro, the network's executive vice president, confirmed.
"He would not agree to extend the standard non-monetary contract provisions of his current deal.''
ESPN would not elaborate.
Reached yesterday, Kiper, 44, was unaware of ESPN's final decision.
"You are telling me something ESPN hasn't told me," said Kiper, whose last contract expired Oct. 1. "There was some language that we were not agreeable to. As far as I was concerned, negotiations were ongoing.''
Kiper agreed that money was not an issue. He acknowledged that the language of the contract was the problem, but wouldn't go into great detail. Pressed for an example, he did say he wanted to know a specific number of SportsCenters he would be required to do.
Seems the face of the NFL Draft is about to change. Love him or hate him.....