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#pounditMonday, October 25, 2021

Stephen A. Smith seems really happy Max Kellerman is no longer on ‘First Take’

Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith has openly admitted that he wanted Max Kellerman removed from “First Take,” and he has no problem showing how pleased he is with the way things have turned out.

ESPN published a behind-the-scenes look at the new “First Take” format this week. Kellerman wasn’t mentioned once in the feature, but Smith did make some remarks that could be interpreted as a veiled swipe at his former co-host. He said he is “incredibly excited” about the future of the show — more excited than he has been in years.

“I haven’t been this excited to do First Take in years,” Smith said. “The future is limitless.”

Smith could say his comments had nothing to do with Kellerman. It is notable, however, that he worked with Kellerman on “First Take” for five years. As Outkick’s Bobby Burack noted, Smith could have easily promoted the new version of the show without vaguely comparing it to the last several years.

Kellerman is still with ESPN. He now hosts a morning radio show with Keyshawn Johnson and Jay Williams, among other responsibilities.

Smith has admitted that the reports about him no longer wanting to co-host “First Take with Kellerman are true. He tried to explain why in a recent radio interview.

Kellerman understands the dynamic at ESPN and that Smith is the company’s highest-paid employee, but he probably isn’t thrilled with the way Smith has handled everything.

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