Well, that didn't take long.
Just four months after announcing his retirement from the NFL, former Giants offensive lineman David Diehl has been hired by FOX as a game analyst. Even though he won championships and was a Pro Bowler and exhibited a strong personality in the locker room, Diehl is not exactly a household name nationally and he played a position that lends itself to anonymity. It is rare for a player to go directly from such relative obscurity to a national broadcast booth.
"I know a lot of people are probably thinking the same thing as you, that this is unbelievable and this is crazy," Diehl told Newsday in a phone interview on Wednesday. "But to me, it really isn't. I've worked extremely hard my entire life not only on the football field but off the football field."
Diehl, who majored in communications at the University of Illinois, said he started plotting his course to the microphone around 2007. That was when the Giants won their first Super Bowl with him at left tackle and the time he signed a long-term contract with the team. He attended the NFL's Broadcast Boot Camp, co-hosted radio programs, made appearances on television, and began engaging contacts for his second career.
"This is what I wanted to do," Diehl said. "Besides getting drafted by the New York Giants, this is the next dream job that I could possibly have."
He also worked on his own, sitting at home watching tapes of games with the volume down and recording his own analysis. The often loquacious Diehl, who has been known to answer questions in the locker room with four-minute soliloquies, won't have that kind of time on a game broadcast.
"You have to be short and quick and to the point," he said. "This is something I've been practicing for and preparing for. It's a lot different when you are answering questions for a newspaper or speaking on the radio or doing it on TV. You know what atmosphere you are in and this is something I've practiced."
Diehl doesn't yet have a broadcast partner and he doesn't know what games he'll be working in the fall. Chances are he'll be low in the broadcast hierarchy at first, and with the Giants playing in the largest market the odds are pretty slim that Diehl will cover any of their games this season. The thought has crossed his mind, though.
"Obviously, when I started getting into all of this, you definitely think about it," he said.
He's also thought about having to point out the flaws and mistakes that will be made by players with whom he used to battle.
"They always say 'Once a Giant, always a Giant,' which is great," Diehl said. "But I'm not a player anymore. I'm going to be an analyst in the box watching the game, and as tough as it's going to be, I've got to be fair. I've got to treat everybody the same. Like Coach [Tom] Coughlin, I'm going to treat everybody the same."
As for his announcing style, Diehl said he'll try to reflect the games he'll be calling.
"Football is fun, it's entertaining and it's about having fun," he said. "I am going to be very statistical, I'm going to point out and know everything that's going on on the field, but it's fun. Football is fun. Even when you're a player you're out there smiling on the field. It's going to be no different for me whether I'm in the box talking and watching or whether I was on the field. There are going to be times where it's intense and you're into it, but there's a lighter side of football where funny things happen."
Funny, like making the jump from the offensive line to network broadcasts.
"This is my true passion and this is my true love," he said. "I love the game of football. I love the NFL. I love everything about it. To have this happen is truly a dream come true."