It's been two months since ESPN fired Bill Simmons over the columnist's constant critical comments of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Most of the questions about Simmons have revolved around where he's going to go once his contract with ESPN is formally finished in September.
But the question that came to my mind this week as I was reading Grantland - the site he founded on ESPN.com - was different.
Do you miss him?
I had this conversation with Brent Axe of ESPN Syracuse on Tuesday evening. Axe, an admitted huge fan on Simmons, said he had missed him - particuarly during the NBA Finals or the NBA Draft.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I hadn't missed Simmons all that much.
This sounds really negative, and I really don't mean it to be. I like Simmons just fine, and his impact on sports journalism is well documented. But it's not 2002 anymore. Simmons isn't the only voice like his. With Deadspin, Awful Announcing, SB Nation, Bleacher Report, The Big Lead, Katie Nolan, Grantland, 538 and countless other sites, there's an embarassment of riches for fun, fan-centric sports media that's not in the traditional mold. Simmons is one voice in the markietplace now, not the only one.
And that, to me, is the intersting question when Simmons returns. I'm not super interested in where he goes next (I'd guess Fox, but that's just a guess). But I am interested in how people respond to his return. By the time he's back publishing, it will have been nearly half a year since he's written anything. How will people respond to the new Sports Guy? How much of his star, his allure, was based on his being at ESPN?
Maybe people are like Brent - champing at the bit for Simmons' return. Maybe they've moved on and haven't really noticed that Simmons hasn't been writing.
So to bring up the question from my old work blog, what's everyone else think?
Do you miss Bill Simmons?