I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about how much happens in 12 years.
In the 12 years since I wrote my first column for NFL.com, I've had an up-close view of the zero-to-hero emergence of Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf," the out-of-the-shadows explosion of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick's New England Patriots' dynasty, the ascension of Peyton Manning, the steady excellence of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the feel-good success of the New Orleans Saints. I've logged thousands upon thousands of miles and have seen a fair amount of this beautiful country while going from press box to press box, training complex to training complex.
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During that span, I also got to watch two daughters graduate from high school and college, and walk one down the aisle.
Those are some of the highest of highlights. There have been lowlights, too, and one of the lowest -- we can only hope -- is going to end in the not-too-distant future with a new collective bargaining agreement.
Yes, a whole lot happens in 12 years, which is why when you make the sort of change I'm making, it causes you to stop and reflect.
This will be my final piece as senior columnist for NFL.com. I've accepted a job as senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.
It is an incredibly exciting opportunity that will have me involved with all of the Browns' media platforms, highlighted by the launch later this summer of a daily radio program that will air on Cleveland's ESPN affiliate and originate from the team's training facility in Berea, Ohio. I will host the show, which also will be streamed on ClevelandBrowns.com, where you'll still be able to read my columns and blogs.
Although my primary focus will be on the Browns, I'll regularly address league-wide issues. The Browns also plan to have me at all of the major events on the NFL calendar. From that standpoint, things aren't going to necessarily feel all that different. The Browns are one of 32 spokes on the NFL wheel. As one league executive put it so eloquently upon learning of my new gig, "We're all still in the same hotel, just in different rooms."
Having joined NFL.com during its infancy, when it was managed by a tiny New York-based staff and reached an audience of thousands, I have been amazed and humbled by its staggering growth through the years. Today, NFL.com and NFL Network share a large space in Los Angeles and an audience of millions.
It has been a blessing to be a part of that ride. It has been a privilege to have you as readers.