When the renamed CBS Mornings debuts on Tuesday, it will feature Nate Burleson’s first appearance in the co-host’s chair.
While his addition appears to be a marked departure for the show – Burleson is a former NFL -Professional turned sports broadcaster – he doesn’t see it that way.
“I can pull the shifts and show people that I’m so much more than an athlete,” said Burleson.
He’s going to be Gayle King and Tony Dokoupil join for the show at a time of change as the network redesigns its morning news slot again with a new title, theme and studio, the former MTV Total Request Live space in Times Square.
Burleson has hosted Good Morning Football on the NFL Network for the past five years and has been a New York correspondent for Extra, which he says helped prepare for the mix of feature stories and tough news interviews on CBS Mornings / p>
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“When you work in the NFL, not every story is about touchdowns and trophies,” said Burleson. “Sometimes I have to talk about tough news. We deal with real life like everyone else. When there is a natural disaster we are there to talk about what’s going on, the disaster and the engagement of certain teams and players in their city. If there’s a death in the NFL family, we have to come up and talk about it. The only thing I can say, and for which I am grateful for the past five years, I have flexed every muscle, not just an analyst, but also a host who talked about everything from very easy to very difficult. ”
NATE BURLESON: I think it’s my interest in things other than sports. It’s easy to think of myself as a former athlete, a player who dipped his toe into the entertainment realm, but there is a long list of things people may not know about me. I had a restaurant when I was playing with the Seattle Seahawks. I’ve launched three lines of clothing. I’m currently partner in a suit line, and you’ll likely see me wear some of these later this year. I’ve helped start a company that helps athletes invest their money properly. I am into music. I’ve been writing poetry since I was in seventh grade. As a child, I thought I would become a famous painter. So Nate Burleson has some levels that might surprise a lot of people who only know me as a soccer player. So when you see me in the field, when you see me tell stories or put a piece on the table, a lot of people may be a little surprised at how comfortable I feel in these different rooms. … We have so many people involved in making this show so special that I’m only here to add to it. Respect the bar that has been set and then raise it occasionally if I can.
BURLESON: To be part of … a show where the people you work with are not just friends or colleagues, but family, it’s hard to make that decision. But what makes it easy is that I’m still connected to the NFL Network and NFL media, and I still occasionally appear on Good Morning Football. But more importantly, I’ve been part of the CBS family for a few years, doing NFL Today on Sundays. So it’s almost like leaving the nest, but I’m going to see a very familiar relative.
DEADLINE: I saw you quote Michael Strahan [Good Morning America co-host] is sort of a “blueprint” for it as it comes from the world of football and moves on to a morning newscast. Did you talk to him about this step?
BURLESON: I just texted him about 10 minutes ago and he said, “Congratulations, you’re doing great things like I always imagined. Let’s jump on the phone this week and talk about what you can look forward to in this new room. ”He’s one of those people I liked after I retired for rewriting the blueprint. I don’t want to say he’s the blueprint because there have been a lot of players who have moved from the game to television. There were African American men and women before him who did the same, but he’s the type who showed me the state of the country, especially as a transplant from the West Coast to New York. I remember meeting him years ago in an elevator in L.A. and … he said, ‘Nice to see you, you’re really doing your thing.’ I’m talking about the early days of my television career. And I said, ‘Well, give me some advice’. I always like to ask. And he said be careful how many jobs you turn down as they may not always be there. So I did everything the NFL Network offered, from working in and out of the studio, to games, as a color commentator, to the digital platform, to producing, writing and hosting. I worked on reading the teleprompter so it came across as organic, not like reading aloud. And I wanted to say yes to everything, because at the end of the day I knew it wasn’t about showing people how versatile I am. It was about improving all of these things that I wanted to work on. So many years later, six, seven years later, I’m here in New York on a show with such a rich tradition. And he said to me some time ago: ‘Look, you are different from me.’ He says: “You have your own way to play.” And these are words I like to hear from him, because as much as I appreciate the comparison where I can see the parallels, I’m different from Strahan, and that’s OK. One of my strengths is my individuality, which can be seen every morning five days a week.
DEADLINE: How do you establish a relationship with the other hosts or do you even see this as a challenge?
BURLESON: When I met Tony and Gayle they were amazing. They smiled and greeted me with open arms – literally with open arms. I speak of big hugs like we’ve known each other for years. Now I just think that they are real people. But I have to earn their trust. I have to earn their respect. I’ll wake up to this mindset every day because as much as I want to show people that I’m more than a football player, there are things I’ve learned in the NFL that aren’t just waking up to get the touchdown … I don’t want to wake up every day to have people tell me how cool I am and how well I do at CBS Mornings. I want people to wake up and appreciate the team. And if I really want to, then I have to show the team every day how passionate I am for this job.
DEADLINE: I think you talked about your path in the NFL. You even hinted that as an adult you might have made you hungry for this career turnaround.
BURLESON: When I left the game, a large part of me was upset that I never won a Super Bowl. I have been playing soccer since I was eight and have sacrificed broken bones and torn ligaments. And I would just hope that I can go home with the trophy. But then I realized that even if I had won a Super Bowl, if I had won that trophy, it didn’t define me. It was then that I realized that the next chapter of my life could be just as special. Getting a couple of Emmys this year has been overwhelming. I didn’t take this job to win an Emmy, but to be recognized for the work I’ve done in the field it has all the whispers that I never won that big game in my career, really for the Brought silence. … I am blessed to be on a team where we have the opportunity to show what we can do. It’s not about the trophies, it’s about working like a champion.