BRISTOL, Conn. – The “Worldwide Leader in Sports”, ESPN, made waves on Sunday when they hired former Washington State University quarterback, Ryan Leaf. He’s been hired as a college football analyst. He’ll pair up with play-by-play announcer, Clay Matvick and will call games mostly on ESPN2 and ESPNU.
Leaf had a legendary college career followed by an abysmal pro one. He won’t be the only former great college QB who didn’t pan out in the pros that has been hired by ESPN. Brady Quinn and Greg McElroy are both currently employed by ESPN and Tim Tebow was a college analyst for the network before deciding to pursue a career in professional baseball.
Through his life, Leaf has battled with drug addiction and was even incarcerated in 2012. Since being released in prison in 2014, he’s worked hard to turn his life around, something that ESPN is convinced he has done.
"Ryan has experienced the highs and lows in the game of football, putting him in a position to relate to a wide range of situations players can find themselves in,'' said Lee Fitting, ESPN's senior vice president of production. "He will be able to rely on those experiences -- including an unbelievable college career where he was an All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist -- in his analysis, making him a tremendous asset for our team.''
Leaf joining the ESPN team has been in the works for a while now. He shadowed McElroy during the WSU v. USC game in Los Angeles last season, which led to an audition in March. He expects to call games all over the country.
"Five years ago, sitting in a prison cell, I would have never imagined that I was going to be part of ESPN and the Disney Corporation,'' Leaf said. "If you would have told me that, I would have said you are absolutely crazy. And I can't believe it. I lay my head down every night with a ton of gratitude.''