CINCINNATI (AP) _ Boomer Esiason will have to choose between playing for the Cincinnati Bengals next season or becoming part of ABC's Monday Night Football broadcast team.

Bengals general manager Mike Brown confirmed Friday that Esiason has an offer to join Monday Night Football. The Bengals have offered a salary increase in an attempt to keep him as their starting quarterback.

The club was awaiting his decision.

``It's his choice to make about which direction to head in,'' Brown said. ``We understand how tempting the ABC offer is. It's a chance that doesn't come along very often. It could be a springboard for a long and successful media career.

``We hope he returns ...''

Esiason was traveling to Vancouver on Friday to attend the NHL All-Star game. His agent, Jerrold Colton, did not return a telephone message.

ABC Sports spokesman Mark Mandel declined comment.

Esiason, 36, returned to Cincinnati as a backup to Jeff Blake but won the starting job over the final five games of the season. Cincinnati went 4-1 with Esiason as the starter, finishing 7-9 overall.

Coach Bruce Coslet said Esiason would be the starting quarterback next season if he returns. Esiason wanted to wait and see what kind of television opportunities were available before making his decision.