Chris Simms had a chance to be part of a team to replace Mike Francesa on WFAN, but he turned it down and bet on himself. And a little more than a year later, he has worked his way up to be a regular part of NBC’s “Football Night in America.”

In a new deal, Simms is leaving Bleacher Report, where he gained digital popularity, to go full time online and on TV at NBC Sports, The Post has learned.

At Bleacher Report, Simms and his podcast partner, Adam Lefkoe, had developed a strong following.

He will become a consistent part of FNIA, which is the highest-rated NFL pregame show, though he won’t be on the level yet of the program’s main analysts, Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison. During the second half of this season, Simms had become a consistent part of the show.

Simms, 38, will continue as a regular co-host on “PFT Live with Mike Florio” and is the main studio analyst for Notre Dame football.

At the end of 2017, Simms had a chance to replace Francesa after Francesa’s “retirement.”

Simms said he wasn’t comfortable with the arrangement.

“That was a tough situation,” Simms said. “That was a dream to be offered that job. Of course, I understand growing up in this area the legend of Mike Francesa. I grew up with ‘Mike & the Mad Dog.’ That was a special offer. There were some things that went on before that.

“I will just say, it didn’t turn out what I thought it was going to be, as far as the three-man booth. It was nothing personal against Chris Carlin or Bart Scott. I thought they are incredibly talented guys. They are good guys. It was nothing personal to them. Leading up to that, that was not what was discussed of what the show would be. That was kind of a curveball that was thrown at the last second. At that time, I thought I had things going on the up and up at NBC.

“I thought it was going to be me and somebody else. I can’t tell you who the somebody else was. I’ve been sworn to secrecy or Don Corleone will chop off my head. So I can’t do that.”

It was ESPN’s Max Kellerman, according to sources.

Simms and Kellerman did a practice show together, but it didn’t end up happening. Kellerman also did a mock show with Scott. Kellerman had a unique clause in his contract that would have allowed him to do New York drive-time radio and stay on ESPN’s “First Take.”

FAN ended up going with Maggie Gray as the third person in CMB after Kim Jones and Simms declined the job. Initially, FAN had strong interest in Adam Schein, who also wasn’t fully interested.

Simms followed his father, Phil, as an NFL quarterback, but his first post-playing career thought was not originally media, like his dad, but rather coaching.

“I went to New England originally thinking I wanted to get into coaching,” Simms said. “That was really where it started. I realized quickly I couldn’t stomach being away from my family so much.”


Quick Click: Speaking of Scott, he will be on ESPN’s “Get Up!” from Wednesday through Friday. Scott is adding to a résumé that includes WFAN’s CMB, SNY’s Jets studio, NFL Network, FS1 and SI.

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