ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter only had to leave the stage once to answer a phone call during a homecoming presentation at Kennedy High School on Thursday night.
Just before he sat down with co-worker and fellow Kennedy alumnus Steve Levy, he warned of a big story he’s working on for the worldwide leader in sports. The call turned out to be nothing, as were the many text messages and emails that came across his cell phone during the 90-minute session, but it was a clear picture into the life of one of the nation’s top NFL reporters, who got his start on Long Island as a sports fan and athlete for the Cougars.
Welcomed with a video of their career highlights and signs in front of the school, both ESPN media personalities spoke about their careers and the media industry. Money raised for the event went to the school's student government association.
Schefter, who recalled helping Kennedy win a conference title as the “Last Player of the Bench” with the boy’s basketball team in 1984, remembered his ability to set goals and accomplish tasks during high school.
From Kennedy, he went off to the University of Michigan, where he wrote for “The Daily Michigan,” only after a failed attempt at joining a fraternity and working for the football and men’s basketball teams. It didn’t take long for him to fall in love with being a reporter.
“I was so determined to carve out a niche in an industry, I didn’t think I could make a living in,” he said. “It was so important to me and meant so much to me. Everything else that happened along the way was almost by accident. I wouldn’t change it for anything else. It’s what we do, it’s what we love, it’s what we feel passionate about. It’s an honor to be here.”
After working for 16 years in Colorado at The Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post as a writer, Schefter joined the NFL Network in 2004 and landed at ESPN in 2009.
Folks in attendance during the sit-down conversation asked Schefter where he thinks Peyton Manning will play next season, a question he has answered countless times in the last week.
Schefter said Manning was “spooked” and “freaked out” by the media attention he received in Miami this week. He also said to watch out for Kansas City and Denver and that Arizona and San Francisco are viable possibilities. Sorry Jets fans, he doesn’t think Gang Green is the likely destination for the future hall of famer.
As for Levy, who went to SUNY Oswego and has worked at ESPN since 1993 as an on-air talent -- most notable for his hosting gig on SportsCenter and work with the NHL before the network lost the contract to exclusively cover the league -- he was asked about the future of the Islanders.
A Rangers fan since a young age, Levy said he would hate to see the Islanders move away from the region.
“I feel like I grew up in that building,” he said. “If it meant going to Brooklyn, at least you’re not losing the Islanders altogether. With that tradition, with that glory, the uniform, the hockey dynasty that was on Long Island, I’d hate to see that lost.
"Long Island loves hockey," he added. "This area deserves the team to stay and deserves a first class building. I’m just not sure that’s going to happen.”
Schefter left everyone abuzz when he was asked what was the biggest story he has broke to date.
“The biggest story I’ve ever broken is always the next one,” he said. “There are some things going on now that have me very antsy. If things hold up in the next four or five days I would say we have a big one coming.”