NEW YORK – Bryant Gumbel, whose last play-by-play assignment was high school games more than 30 years ago, will call the NFL Network’s eight regular-season NFL games this season along with analyst Cris Collinsworth.

Both men will continue with their current duties – Gumbel as host of HBO’s “Real Sports” and Collinsworth as analyst and co-host on the pregame show for NBC’s new Sunday night package, and on HBO’s “Inside the NFL.”

The NFL Network will carry eight games this season on Thursday and Saturday nights, beginning on Thanksgiving. Gumbel will do all eight, while Collinsworth will be the analyst on the five Thursday night games and the Saturday night finale between the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins.

Steve Bornstein. the network’s president, said the analyst for the other two games will be announced at a later date.

Both Gumbel and Collinsworth said during a conference call Wednesday that there had been no limitations placed on their commentary, although the NFL owns and runs the network.

“That was the first question I asked,” Collinsworth said. “Are they going to be a network or a PR firm for the NFL? I have it in my contract that I can do what I’m going to do to call the games. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise.”

Gumbel, once the host of the NBC pregame show and later cohost of “The Today Show,” said he expects his experience in news to help him with his new assignment.

“It’s a lot like covering any story,” he said. “You see what is front of you and you report on it.”

AP-ES-04-26-06 1517EDT