Friday, June 7, 2002

WUSA-TV (local Channel 9) sports anchor Jess Atkinson resigned yesterday, becoming the latest broadcaster to pass through the revolving door of the station’s sports department.
“I just felt I was ready to move on,” said Mr. Atkinson, a former place kicker for the Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland.
He would not comment on reports the CBS affiliate was interviewing potential replacements before he submitted his resignation. He declined to say whether he had another job lined up, but said he did not expect to leave the Washington area, where he grew up.
Mr. Atkinson joined WUSA in January 2000, becoming the station’s third chief sports anchor since the death of legendary sportscaster Glenn Brenner in January 1992.
Mr. Atkinson’s predecessors were Warner Wolf and Ken Broo.
“I have nothing but great feelings about working for Channel 9. I grew up watching Glenn, and I was very proud to be able to sit in his chair. I am a better man for it,” Mr. Atkinson said.
David Roberts, WUSA’s vice president and news director, said Mr. Atkinson will stay with the station until a replacement is found. He would not say how long the search is expected to take.
The station has experimented with its sports reports in recent years.
It riled some sports fans in November 2000 when it cut Mr. Atkinson’s reports on the 6 p.m. news from three minutes to one minute.
In April, WUSA added a “sports bar” at the bottom of the screen to update scores during its evening newscasts.
Mr. Atkinson worked for NBC affiliate WRC-TV (Channel 4) from 1990 to 1996, and WPRI-TV (Channel 12), a Fox station in Providence, R.I., from 1996 to 1999.
His professional football career was brief. He was a place kicker for the Redskins in the final regular season game in 1986 and in the 1986 playoffs.
He was injured in the opening game of the 1987 season, which kept him off the field for the remainder of the season.
He also played for four other NFL teams, and kicked for the University of Maryland from 1981 to 1984.

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