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Report: Chris Berman to retire after 2016 NFL season (Updated)

Chris Berman

Photo credit: ESPN Front Row

One of the faces of ESPN's Mount Rushmore is preparing to climb off the mountain and call it a day.

According to The Big Lead, Chris Berman is preparing to retire at the conclusion of the 2016 NFL season, which will end with Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5, 2017 in Houston. He has been with the network since shortly after its 1979 inception.

Update: Berman's agent has denied the claim.

Friday update:Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated has confirmed The Big Lead's report that Berman will step away from his regular NFL hosting duties after the 2016 season, but allowed for the possibility of him staying on in an "emeritus" role in 2017 and beyond.

Berman has been the voice of America's largest sports network's coverage of America's favorite sport, the first truly famous person to emerge from ESPN. Speaking from personal experience, my father spent 13 years of my childhood calling play-by-play for ESPN and, when peers would learn this fact, without fail the first two questions out of their mouths were: "Is he on SportsCenter?" and "Does he know Chris Berman?" (The answer: no and no. The other kids quickly lost interest after that.)

While his approval ratings fell back, back, back toward zero in recent years, it's important to remember that, for better and worse, ESPN would not be what it is today without Berman.

Alongside Tommy Jackson, Berman weaned an entire generation of NFL fans through his Sunday NFL Primetime highlight reads.

The Big Lead reports ESPN is planning a Kobe Bryant-like send off for Berman throughout the upcoming season, so those among you already pre-nostalgic for Boomer will get your fill this fall.