- The Washington Times - Monday, June 15, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Matt Millen has had no trouble finding work since he was fired by the Detroit Lions.

Millen is adding analyst duties for the NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” games to his commentator job at ESPN.

NFL Network announced Monday that Millen would replace Cris Collinsworth, who’s joining NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” booth.

The architect of the league’s first 0-16 team was fired in September. Millen was a successful commentator at CBS and Fox before taking over the Lions in 2001 _ and leading them to one of the worst eight-year stretches in NFL history.

“My tenure was not good; it was very poor,” Millen said on a conference call. “So it’s been said that you learn a lot from failures, and I learned a ton. So I can bring that to the table. I think I view my experience in Detroit as a positive just in terms of _ not in terms of winning and losing, obviously _ but having gone through it and having been exposed to every level of the National Football League.

“Yeah, I think that’s something that could help with the telecast.”

Millen was a guest analyst with NBC during last season’s playoffs. ESPN hired him in May to call college football games and appear on NFL studio shows.

“We had an exclusive arrangement with Matt and the NFL Network approached us about adding him to their telecasts,” ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson said in a statement. “Our relationship with the NFL is very important and we are happy to work together. Matt will do a great job there and his onsite presence will enhance his perspective on ESPN’s studio coverage for fans.”

Millen will work alongside play-by-play announcer Bob Papa on NFL Network.

“To have Matt available and not having him do NFL games this year would just cheat the fan,” NFL Network executive producer Eric Weinberger said.

Millen declined to predict how many games the Lions would win this year, but he praised their selection with the No. 1 pick in the draft, quarterback Matthew Stafford.

“I really like Stafford,” he said. “Stafford has a real arm. Stafford can make real throws. … So I couldn’t speak to what they would win or lose, but I can speak to they’ve got themselves a guy to really work with.”

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