Bob Ley hasn’t been on ESPN since last fall, when he announced he was taking a six-month leave from the network. It’s been odd not having him on the air, as Ley has been a constant presence at ESPN since the network’s inception in 1979.
Beginning Oct. 1 I'll be taking a six-month sabbatical from my @OTLonESPN duties. The idea of stepping back to re-charge is fully 100% mine, and one I've been considering for a while. I truly appreciate the company's understanding and cooperation. -30
— Bob Ley (@BobLeyESPN) August 15, 2018
We completely support Bob’s decision and look forward to his return April 1. In the meantime, @OTLonESPN is in great hands with @JeremySchaap, @KateFagan3, @RyanSmithtv and the award-winning production team. https://t.co/Xvd4STETeK
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) August 15, 2018
Here’s Ley’s closing statement from his last appearance, which also serves as his last tweet:
I'll catch you on the flip side. pic.twitter.com/q0HNBn5rmu
— Bob Ley (@BobLeyESPN) September 28, 2018
Those six months were up after March, but Ley hadn’t yet returned. People were bound to notice that, and indeed Ley’s continued absence prompted a query from The Big Lead’s Ryan Glasspiegel, which led to this statement from ESPN announcing the leave had been extended, with no official return date:
ESPN statement on Bob Ley: pic.twitter.com/nlRzI6atih
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) May 3, 2019
“Bob Ley has decided to extend his time away from Outside the Lines. We look forward to Bob’s return when he will add to his unprecedented list of accomplishments built during his nearly 40 years and counting at ESPN. Outside the Lines will continue with hosts Ryan Smith and Jeremy Schaap.”
We still don’t know why Ley has taken this leave of absence. Hopefully he’s back soon, as ESPN is certainly better with him than without.