LOS ANGELES -- John Madden may eventually end up in ABC's "Monday Night Football" booth, replacing Dan Dierdorf, but he said yesterday that reports that a deal has already been completed were not accurate.
"I haven't decided on anything, and I won't until after the season," said Madden, an ex-coach who has been a cornerstone CBS' coverage for the past 15 years. "This is the fun part of the season and I want to enjoy it."
The New York Post reported that Madden's arrival at ABC is a "mere formality," and USA Today said that Madden had recently agreed to a $2.5-million-a-year deal with ABC after rejecting a $4 million offer from Fox.
"I haven't heard those numbers from anybody, so that tells me the source for these stories is an outsider who doesn't really know what is going on," Madden said.
"I think these things start out as speculation and the next thing you know it's being reported as an announcement. I'm just saying we are a lot of steps away from that.
"I'm trying not to think about it [his future], but it's hard because people keep calling you up and telling you what they've read. Or they fax it to you."
A clause in Madden's contract with CBS gives him an out if CBS has no football. Asked if he might stay at CBS if it were to get involved in a new league, Madden said: "I don't know. I really don't. I might. It would be another option to look at."
The newspapers reported that Madden would join longtime regulars Frank Gifford and Al Michaels, replacing Dierdorf, who would either shift to college football commentary or join Fox for its NFL coverage.
ABC spokesman Mark Mandel said, "We will not discuss anything about John Madden or any other sports announcer who does not work for ABC."