Ryan Leaf is joining ESPN as a college football analyst this fall, the Associated Press was first to report. The former Washington State quarterback will team up with play-by-play announcer Clay Matvick and primarily work ESPN2 and ESPU games.
Leaf, who played four years in the NFL, struggled with addiction and spent two years in prison, has remade his life. He provided insight for the Pac-12 Network last year and co-hosts a show on SiriusXM radio.
“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 told the AP that he job-shadowed ESPN’s Greg McElroy when he called the USC-Washington State game last season and that he auditioned back in March.
The gig is a great next chapter for Leaf in a story that could have had a much different ending.