Former Saint Stinchcomb to serve as analyst for team’s preseason games on CST
After two seasons away from the game and the organization he loves, former New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl tackle Jon Stinchcomb is coming out of retirement.
Only he won’t be wearing the black and gold uniform and his familiar No. 78 jersey. He will be the color analyst for three Saints’ exhibition games that are being televised on CST/Fox 8 in August.
The two-time Pro Bowl right tackle will share a broadcast booth with play-by-play man Tim Brando, beginning Friday night against the Kansas City Chiefs at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
“I’ve had a number of opportunities to do some media-related jobs,’’ said Stinchcomb, who now resides with his family in Grayson, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta not far from where he starred at the University of Georgia. “The fact that this is only for three games, and it’s the preseason, is a major draw for me.
“I’m not trying to make this a career thing or anything like that. I enjoy going out there and talking some football on a limited basis. Plus, it’s for the Saints. I get to talk about a team that I love and was so good to me.’’
Besides the Kansas City exhibition, CST/Fox 8 also will broadcast the Saints home game against Oakland on Aug. 16 and a road game against Miami Aug. 29. The Saints-Houston game Aug. 25 at Reliant Stadium will be carried nationally on Fox.
Stinchcomb is following in the footsteps of his older brother, Matt, who currently is a football analyst for ESPNU and the SEC Network. Matt Stinchcomb earned All-America honors at Georgia and played five seasons in the NFL with Oakland and Tampa Bay.
“Matt is the real media darling,’’ said Jon, 34. “I’m enjoying so much time with my family right now. My brother travels so much in the fall. I figure it’s going to be a great thing for three games. It would probably wear me down a lot quicker if it were for the entire season.
“No, after these games, it’s back in the shadows for me.’’
Brando, a veteran of more than 30 years in broadcast sports, said he is looking forward to working with Stinchcomb and sideline reporter Sean Kelley, the play-by-play man for the New Orleans Pelicans’ radio network.
“I’ve known John during his time with the Saints and even covered some of his games,’’ Brando said. “He’s a great guy and highly intelligent. I suspect he can probably shed a lot of insight as someone who has been a part of this offense for such a long period of time, in a really mission critical position to protect Drew (Brees).
“Jon understands what they need to do to keep the O-line as successful as it has been in the past and needs to be in the future. I can’t imagine that he won’t just fit in beautifully.’’
Stinchcomb did just that during his eight seasons in New Orleans, specifically the last five, when he started 80 consecutive games through 2010 and helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV.
That’s why his unexpected release Aug. 15, 2011, and subsequent retirement 38 days later came as shocking news to Saints fans and media alike. In hindsight, Stinchcomb said he probably should have started training camp on the physically unable to perform list and not tried to play himself into game shape from offseason surgery to repair a torn patella tendon.
“I would have cut me, too, if I were the Saints,’’ Stinchcomb said. “I was hurting. I wasn’t ready to start camp, but that was a decision that I made personally. They asked me if I was ready to go, and I made the decision that I was going to give it a shot, and it just wasn’t there.
“There were days where that idea of ‘Man, I can still play this game’ creeps in on you. But I don’t have any regrets. That’s the way I approached my career. I felt like if I could, then I should be there for my team, and I’d be letting them down if I wasn’t there for them.’’
Stinchcomb is taking that same approach in his post-football life, first and foremost with his family. He currently is director of community development for Next Generation 3, a nonprofit organization based in Gwinnett County (Ga.) that places character coaches or chaplains in schools to help develop lifelong relationships with student-athletes and coaches.
“The number 3 stands for character, community and change,’’ Stinchcomb said. “We try to match schools with staff members to help promote character development of young men and women so they can impact their communities in a positive manner.’’