ESPN's Stephen A. Smith recruits Shannon Sharpe to 'First Take' after 'Undisputed' exit: 'Happy to be here for him'

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Stephen A. Smith, Shannon Sharpe
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The courting of Shannon Sharpe has officially begun, and it is starting where many expected it might.

That would be with a public recruitment from ESPN talent Stephen A. Smith.

Smith made overtures to Sharpe as a part of "The Stephen A. Show" on Friday. He even extended an invite for Sharpe to appear on Smith's popular "First Take" show — if that is something he should desire.

MORE: Why Shannon Sharpe is leaving FS1's 'Undisputed,' explained

"I don't know what his plans are. I don't know what he's trying to pursue. I don't know what he's after," Smith said. "But if Shannon Sharpe needs me, I'm happy to be here for him. And if that included him wanting to come on 'First Take,' the bosses at ESPN know that is something I would support."

Smith's acknowledgment of Sharpe comes just days after a New York Post report indicated that the long-time co-host of FS1's "Undisputed" had reached a buyout agreement to exit his contract with Fox Sports.

The report also said there was "public friction" between Sharpe and co-host Skip Bayless that may have played a part in his decision to leave the company.

The on-air tension between the two had grown more noticeable in recent months. Notably, an argument that the two had about Tom Brady — during which Bayless poked fun at the length of Sharpe's NFL career — appeared to stoke tension between the two.

Later, the duo had another disagreement, this time about Bayless' tweet in the aftermath of Bills safety Damar Hamlin's on-field cardiac arrest. Sharpe was angered by the tweet and skipped the "Undisputed" episode the next day. He grew more incensed when Bayless interrupted him while he tried to explain his absence to the audience after he returned.

MORE: Full breakdown of tense exchange between Sharpe, Bayless on 'Undisputed'

"First Take" would be a good fit for Sharpe. Smith could serve as his new counterpart and Sharpe would be taking a dig at Bayless by spurning him for his former co-host.

Sharpe has experience on "First Take" as well. He filled in for Smith at times when Bayless was Smith's co-host. That's part of the reason he was tabbed to team up with Bayless at FS1.

While Smith's offer could be a good one for Sharpe, the 54-year-old hasn't yet given any indication of what's next for him. All that is known is that he is planning to leave FS1 and will be bringing his "Club Shay Shay" podcast with him. The possible landing spots for him are wide-ranging.

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Jacob Camenker is a senior content producer at The Sporting News.