Photos via ESPN Images
- Rutledge will add NFL Live while continuing to host SEC Network’s SEC Nation
- Spears will appear on NFL Live daily as part of his new pro football-focused role
- Kimes moves into new ESPN NFL analyst role
ESPN will relaunch NFL Live, the year-round weekday NFL news and information show, in August with new host Laura Rutledge and a consistent roster of daily analysts that features Marcus Spears, Dan Orlovsky, Keyshawn Johnson and Mina Kimes, who moves into a new NFL analyst role.
NFL analyst Ryan Clark will join NFL Live on Fridays. In addition, ESPN NFL reporters, insiders and news-breakers Jeff Darlington, Dan Graziano, Kimberley A. Martin, Chris Mortensen, Louis Riddick, Dianna Russini, Adam Schefter, Field Yates and others will continue to contribute to the weekday show.
“The kickoff of the 2020 NFL season presents an exciting opportunity to reimagine NFL Live with a new commentator team that brings a wealth of football intelligence and a built in chemistry,” said Seth Markman, ESPN vice president, production. “Laura, Marcus, Dan, Mina and Keyshawn have all excelled in their respective roles across ESPN platforms – and have already worked closely together. The daily conversations they will have about the NFL is something we hope fans will really learn from and enjoy.”
Rutledge joined the company as an SEC Network reporter in 2014 and has consistently expanded her portfolio of responsibilities across ESPN and SEC Network over the past six years, most recently joining Get Up as a permanent contributor last fall. Rutledge has hosted SEC Network’s Saturday college football pregame show, SEC Nation, the past three years – a role she will continue doing in addition to hosting NFL Live. Rutledge has also contributed to live-event programming for college football, basketball, gymnastics, baseball and softball and been a mainstay in ESPN’s championship event coverage, including the College Football Playoff.
“Mina, Marcus, Dan and Keyshawn are all exceptionally talented and a whole lot of fun, and I can’t wait to work with them,” said Rutledge, who becomes just the third NFL Live host since the show debuted in 2003. “We are committed to bringing fans the best NFL coverage. This is a dream come true for me.”
In addition to Rutledge, NFL Live will now feature a consistent panel of analysts throughout the week.
Spears, who has signed a new multi-year ESPN extension, will now appear daily on NFL Live as he moves into a pro football-centric analyst role. The eight-year NFL defensive end originally joined SEC Network in 2014 and has worked with Rutledge for years on both SEC Nation and Get Up. Spears debuted on NFL Live last fall in addition to travelling to SEC Nation and appearing regularly on Get Up, SportsCenter, First Take and other shows.
Said Spears: “It’s a pinch myself moment! I get to work alongside some of my favorite people in this world and talk NFL football! Five days a week, our fans know they will get raw, real and fun discussions from me on NFL Live. Lights, camera – NFL – let’s go!”
Orlovsky, who played 12 NFL seasons at quarterback, will now appear daily on NFL Live, while continuing to call a weekly college football game for ESPN and ABC. Orlovsky, who joined the company in 2018 and began appearing on NFL Live a year ago, has worked consistently with both Rutledge and Spears on Get Up. He and Spears also developed a great rapport working together the past year on NFL Live.
Kimes, who has been widely praised for her NFL feature writing and football analysis on ESPN Digital and Audio platforms the past six years, moves into a new NFL analyst role. She will appear on NFL Live while continuing to host The Mina Kimes Show featuring Lenny football podcast. She will also continue to write for ESPN.com and contribute to programs like Around the Horn and Highly Questionable. During the NFL offseason, Kimes will continue to be a contributor to the ESPN Daily podcast which she launched as the host in October 2019.
Added Kimes: “Football is my passion, so I couldn’t be more excited to devote more time to studying the game. I’m beyond grateful for this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to making a fun, smart show with these incredible people.”
Johnson, who has signed a new multi-year extension, will continue to have a host role on ESPN Radio while also making regular appearances as an analyst on NFL Live. A Super Bowl champion and 11-year NFL wide receiver, Johnson was a member of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown pregame shows from 2007-2015. The past four years, he has served as a Los Angeles-based analyst in addition to co-hosting the Mornings with Keyshawn, LZ and Travis radio show on ESPN LA 710.
Spears, Orlovsky, Kimes and Johnson will all continue to appear on Get Up, SportsCenter, First Take and more in addition to NFL Live.