Inside Frank Caliendo’s preparation for his ESPN Best Of the NFL special debuting tonight

Like great athletes, comedian and Sunday NFL Countdown contributor Frank Caliendo has his own highlight reel. Sort of.

Tonight, ESPN airs a special 30-minute show, Frank Caliendo’s Best of the NFL (7 p.m. ET). It’s a compilation of Caliendo’s best impersonations from 2013 – like the 30 for 30 mockumentary on Seattle Seahawks star Richard Sherman – along with some new material inspired by ESPN’s NFL Draft telecast.

“The big key was [ESPN NFL Draft analysts Mel] Kiper and [Jon] Gruden on the set at the same time,” Caliendo told Front Row. “I saw an interesting relationship there and that’s what I’ve built on with this. Had a little fun with Gruden’s love for [Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback] Johnny Manziel. It’s almost like Brett Favre love from John Madden. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Yesterday, Caliendo visited ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus and appeared as a guest on TV and radio shows: His reading on Mike & Mike of a portion of LeBron James’ letter to Cleveland in actor Morgan Freeman’s voice went viral. A video recap of his visit is posted on Best of Caliendo at ESPN.

Editor’s note: ESPN2 will re-air Frank Caliendo’s Best of the NFL on Thursday, July 31, (7 p.m.), Sunday, August 3, (2:30 p.m.), and Tuesday, August 26 (7:30 p.m.). Next week, Front Row will have an exclusive interview with Caliendo about the transformation process and his thoughts on the upcoming NFL season.

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