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Los Angeles Chargers Announce Radio Plans

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When the 2017 NFL season begins, the Chargers will call a new city home for the first time since 1961. As they begin the next chapter of their franchise’s history, they’re preparing to build it with a brand new radio announcer.

The team has announced that Josh Lewin, who had called the team’s games for the past 12 seasons is being replaced by Matt “Money” Smith. Lewin confirmed his departure via Twitter adding “The Chargers have decided they want a full time LA announcer so a wonderful run ends today. I’ll happily continue with the Mets and UCLA and will cherish my memories of serving Chargers fans the last 12 years. Thank you for everything Bolts fans, you’re the best!”

Smith is a longtime fixture in the Los Angeles radio market, and hosts weekday afternoons with Petros Papadakis on AM570 LA Sports. In addition to hosting afternoons, he’s also built an impressive play-by-play resume. He’s spent the past seven years calling NFL and college games for Compass Media, and has called television games for the Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports.

Smith will be accompanied in the booth by former Chargers center Nick Hardwick. Hardwick is one half of the morning show for XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego, the team’s former flagship radio station. Initially he was critical of the team’s decision to turn its back on San Diego and bolt for Los Angeles, but as they say, time heals all wounds.

“I’d never been broken up with and I was emotional,” Hardwick told ESPN.com. “And when I get emotional, I get angry and let my emotions come out. And they were authentic, genuine and in the moment.

“All of the anger was immediately directed at the Spanos family and the Chargers organization, but my emotions around that completely subsided and I’m glad to be back in the family. I’m glad to be back with a group that gave me my opportunity, gave me my life and stuck with me through bad times and bad injuries. They’ve done nothing but support me in my career.

“I care for this team. I literally broke my neck for this organization. I played 11 years for the franchise, was a team captain for five years and I want the best for them.”

But while Hardwick may have good intentions and personal reasons for reconnecting with the franchise, he understands that it may ruffle feathers of those who continue to call San Diego home and remain bitter about the team leaving the city.

“I don’t feel like in any way this is a slight to San Diegans who are little bit like Trump supporters,” said Hardwick. “They’re leaning into each other and saying, ‘Hey, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to follow this Chargers team.’ And then they keep it quiet, because the people who are mad are mad, and you don’t want to come out against those folks. So am I going to get backlash? Sure, 100 percent. I completely expect it, and I’m cool with it. For me, it’s not their life, it’s mine. And I have to follow my own passions and be honest with myself. I’m a football guy.”

The Chargers will air their games on radio in the Los Angeles market on KFI AM-640. They currently have no radio agreement to air games in San Diego. The team also says that Spero Dedes and Hall of Fame Chargers quarterback Dan Fouts will call the team’s three-game preseason schedule on ABC7 Los Angeles.

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Damon Amendolara: Why Does Tom Brady Want To Call Games?

“I was just always convinced Tom Brady had bigger fish to fry than calling Cowboys, Commanders on Thanksgiving.”

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Tom Brady

Tom Brady is headed to FOX. According to Damon Amendolara, there is no question who is getting the better end of that deal.

The network’s interest in Brady has been well-known for months. Still, CBS Sports Radio’s morning man cannot believe it is actually happening. He said Tuesday morning that he can’t understand why Brady would want to pursue a media career after his playign days end.

“I was just always convinced Tom Brady had bigger fish to fry than calling Cowboys, Commanders on Thanksgiving,” Amendolara said. “I just always felt like Brady’s post-playing career was going to be pushing nutrition, pushing TB12 brand, pushing his apparel brand and doing kind of elite media work.”

A media career for Tom Brady is something Amendolara said he assumed would happen off-camera. He pointed to the Religion of Sport production studio Brady co-owns as an example of what he would expect Brady to want to be involved in.

Broadcasters work more Sundays during the NFL season than players do. No matter how good the games are, Damon Amendolara said that it is a grind he could not believe Tom Brady was willing to sign up for.

“They’ll get the number one games, but you still gotta do 17 or 18 of them before you get to the playoffs and not every one of them is a sizzler.”

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Ike Reese: ‘It’s Up To Us To Let Ray Didinger Stay Retired’

“I would imagine he’ll still watch a game still jotting down notes. There’s no way he’s gonna watch a game without doing his Ray Diddy thing.”

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Ray Didinger is feeling a lot of love from his WIP colleagues after announcing his retirement on Sunday. He will still be on the station through the end of the month, but on Monday, nearly the entire full-time air staff of the radio station was paying tribute to him.

Jon Marks and Ike Reese took time out of their afternoon drive show on Monday to replay Didinger’s announcement. Marks said that it was “as thoughtful as everything that he does.” He doesn’t doubt that Didinger is at peace with the decision.

Reese joked that it was good to hear PD Rod Lakin was not responsible for this. He also said that he was happy to hear that this was not a health-related retirement. According to the former Eagles linebacker though, that means it would be really easy for Didinger to want to abandon his plans if given the chance.

“We obviously know how much Ray Didinger means to us. And this WIP family, just like the Comcast Sports family I’m sure, is important to him,” Ike Reese said. “I’d imagine he would have a tough time saying no. That is why you leave it up to us to don’t bother him. Don’t put him in that position. Let him enjoy retirement.”

He knows that it will be hard for Didinger to not stay ready for a media appearance diuring the football season.

“I would imagine he’ll still watch a game still jotting down notes. There’s no way he’s gonna watch a game without doing his Ray Diddy thing.”

Both Marks and Reese said they hope that they would not hear from Didinger until at least the 2023 Eagles season and that Ray and his wife use that time to fully enjoy their new freedom.

Jon Marks reminded everyone that Ray Didinger is still an author with products to sell. If they really miss him, they can always go to a book signing.

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Mat Smith and Nate Jackson: ESPN Anger Over Nikola Jokic MVP ‘Is Garbage’

“He’s not as sexy as these other guys. But he does deserve the MVP, and shame on these guys to make it about them and their choices and their votes.”

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Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic has won the NBA MVP award for the second consecutive season. Jokic secured the award ahead of Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid.

ESPN NBA analysts Brian Windhorst and Tim Legler got the attention of Mat Smith and Nate Jackson on 104.3 The Fan in Denver Monday. Both Legler and Windhorst felt like Embiid was the MVP and sounded downright offended that he was not named the winner.

Legler said Embiid carried the Sixers and had a firm grip on the award from early February through the end of the regular season.

But Smith, who was filling in for Chad Brown on Monday, argued that the same things could be said for Jokic, adding that Jokic did more with less star power on the Nuggets roster. He didn’t understand how Embiid was Legler’s clear choice over Jokic.

“There’s so many different reasons why that specifically is garbage from Legler,” Smith said.

Jackson said Jokic is the Rodney Dangerfield of NBA players and made the point that it’s a continuation of a trend. For what ever reason, the national media overlooks the 27-year-old Serbian superstar.

“They don’t pay attention to it, they’re quick to write off this guy because they don’t appreciate his style of play,” he said. “He’s not as sexy as these other guys. But he does deserve the MVP, and shame on these guys to make it about them and their choices and their votes.”

Windhorst explained he went with Embiid based on what advanced statistics were saying. Smith said Windhorst basically laid out why Jokic was most deserving of MVP.

“He just gave every reason why Jokic should win and said, ‘Well I voted for Embiid, and I’m not taking it back,'” Smith said. He added that it was puzzling why so many voters were against Jokic. “These guys don’t like Joker. He’s not likable nationally, and why that is I’m not sure.”

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