Mike Ditka is taking on a new role for ESPN’s NFL coverage and it no longer involves NFL Countdown on Sundays and Mondays. According to a statement released by Ditka through ESPN, the longtime former coach will instead shift to SportsCenter for NFL coverage as part of a new contract. Per Ditka, shifting the coverage was his idea, not ESPN’s:
This new role is really a blessing. It’s something I asked for. After many years of weekend travel, I’m thrilled I’ll get to watch NFL games on Sundays and Monday nights in the comfort of my own home. I enjoy being part of the game and part of ESPN. I really do. So this is a great solution.
Additionally, ESPN’s senior coordinating producer, Seth Markman, said the following:
Mike talked with me late in the year about his role for next season. Thankfully we were able to come to an agreement that works for him and keeps him a part of our ESPN family. This announcement is great news for us and for our viewers, as Coach Ditka continues to be someone NFL fans everywhere respect and admire.
The reasoning certainly makes sense for Ditka, who is 76. As part of ESPN’s continuing NFL coverage, recently retired quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will join NFL Countdown in Ditka’s old role, according to The Big Lead. Ditka has also made headlines recently for his political stance, which included calling Barack Obama a “fine man” but essentially leaderless. Ditka also said he would vote for Donald Trump.