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Original Issue

Two-way Player

Trev Alberts pulls no punches when choosing the most
disappointing pro football player ever. He picks himself.

"I don't shy away from the fact that I was probably the biggest
flop in NFL history,"says Alberts, 31, the 1993 Butkus Award
winner as a linebacker at Nebraska and the fifth selection, by
the Colts, in the '94 draft. Alberts's most celebrated moment in
three injury-plagued pro seasons came before he even played a
down: It was as the subject of a heated on-air confrontation on
draft day between Indianapolis director of football operations
Bill Tobin and ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., who blasted the
selection. Although Alberts proved Kiper correct on the field,
he made a quick and deft post-NFL switch to broadcasting. Now
he's one of a handful of network commentators working the
college and NFL beats simultaneously.

His broadcasting success didn't come overnight. During his
rookie season in the NFL, when he was sidelined by an elbow
injury, Alberts was hired to be a college football analyst for
then fledgling ESPN2. It was a job he took less than seriously.
"I was very immature and didn't do any preparation," says
Alberts. "I didn't really care about television."

That changed following his forced retirement. After several
months working as an institutional bond salesman in Lincoln,
Albert became a college football analyst for CNN in 1997 and two
years later joined CNN/SI's NFL preview show. At first, Alberts
says, his on-field NFL failure gave him an inferiority complex.
"When I started doing the NFL show, I was too intimidated to
call coaches," he says. "I was almost ashamed of my NFL
experience. It took time to get over that."

By contrast, Alberts felt right at home analyzing the college
game, a role in which he never hesitates to state his strong
opinions. For example, he's a vociferous critic of the Bowl
Championship Series and advocates a playoff. "No matter what
Fresno State does, it won't play for the national championship,"
he says. "It beat powers in three main conferences, but even if
it goes undefeated, it has no shot. To me, that's fundamentally

Alberts spends the early part of his week preparing for
Saturday's CNN/SI College Football Preview show. Then, around
midweek, he starts doing his research for NFL Preview on Sunday
morning. "A lot of guys have bigger names and better
credentials," Alberts says of the football analyst fraternity.
"Let's face it: I'll always be a guy with 48 career NFL tackles
or something like that. I can't change that. So I just have to
work harder at this job."


"When I started doing the NFL show, I was too intimidated to
call coaches," says CNN/SI's Alberts.