NFL insider Dianna Russini is a longtime guest of The Pat McAfee Show and the two have great chemistry, but Tuesday marked her first time back on the program since leaving ESPN for The Athletic, just as McAfee joined ESPN full-time.
“The first time after we announced we were going to ESPN, she joined the show and we were like ‘This is one of the upsides of going to ESPN,'” McAfee said before welcoming Russini, who he called a “true superstar.” “And then like two weeks later, she announced she was going to The Athletic.”
Notably, Russini’s appearance occurred during the YouTube and ESPN+-exclusive third hour of PMS.
From there, Russini carried on with a routine insider TV hit:
"Joe Burrow is very very sore today..
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) September 26, 2023
McAfee has indeed taken advantage of the booking perks that come with working at ESPN. Adam Schefter and Dan Orlovsky do half-hour spots each Monday. Both Joe Buck and Troy Aikman come on Mondays as well to preview their Monday Night Football broadcast. Both of the Mannings have been on since the show moved to ESPN, where the brothers have a deal.
McAfee has melded his retired coach and athlete crew that includes A.J. Hawk, Darius Butler, AQ Shipley and others with the ESPN who’s-who. But he clearly misses Russini.
It remains to be seen how McAfee’s guest list will continue to evolve as his time at ESPN progresses. McAfee routinely hosted NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport and The Athletic NBA insider Shams Charania. Those appearances seem unlikely to continue.
But at least for one day, McAfee got his wish to bring old pal Russini back on his show to talk football.