Showtime’s version of Inside The NFL is now entering its ninth season. As it does so, the show will be bringing back host James Brown, who works on The NFL Today broadcasts on CBS throughout the season. Brown previously worked on the show from its inception on Showtime in 2008 until 2014. He will be joined by analysts Boomer Esiason, Michael Irvin, Phil Simms and current New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

Marshall, as a current NFL player, would seem to be a tenuous fit for a show that is built upon praising and criticizing players and teams within the league. However, Marshall has been able to navigate the line well in his time on the program.

“What we found in Brandon Marshall has really been a revelation for us the past couple of years,” said Stephen Espinoza the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Showtime Sports. “We had no idea he’d be as good as he has been.”

“The real issue with active players–it’s sort of like all of us in our certain professions. We all have coworkers, we have colleagues in our field. Not all of us want to go on record with comments about our colleagues work performance,” said Espinoza.  “That’s sometimes an issue even with retired athletes who go into the announcing booth and really aren’t as candid as you feel like they might or could be simply because you don’t like commenting on your former teammates.  Brandon has found a way to do that in a candid way that feels authentic and that he’s comfortable with. That’s a rare thing. For him to be able to say ‘Look Tony Romo’s a great quarterback, I’d love to have him on the team.’ To be able to praise and criticize honestly other players, there’s a level of courage that that takes that I think few players have.”

Marshall and the rest of the Inside The NFL crew will make their season debut on September 6th at 9 p.m. ET.

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