One of ESPN’s most entertaining and insightful NFL analysts will be at the network for at least a few more years. The network announced on Wednesday that Ryan Clark has signed a multi-year extension and will continue appearing on several of ESPN studio shows, including NFL Live, Get Up, and SportsCenter.
Clark — who played 13 seasons in the NFL, eight of those with the Pittsburgh Steelers — was voted to one Pro Bowl during his career and a championship with the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII. He joined ESPN in 2015 after a brief tryout/internship with the network two years earlier.
The former safety has become a popular personality on ESPN’s morning show Get Up and SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt following the Monday Night Football broadcast, where his candid analysis often sets him apart from his fellow NFL insiders. He’s also been an increasingly prevalent presence across the network during NFL Draft and free agency coverage.
ESPN's Ryan Clark has the best NFL Draft analysis. We're good until 8 p.m. ET tonight ? pic.twitter.com/BzjVXcY9kt
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) April 23, 2020
Ryan Clark is all of us right now pic.twitter.com/JxGWGhYDPi
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) April 7, 2020
Who can the Pittsburgh Steelers beat in the playoffs?
Ryan Clark thinks pretty much nobody. pic.twitter.com/2lSW75G8dQ
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) December 22, 2020
Clark has also been an important voice on the network over the past year, sharing his perspective on racial issues and players demonstrating against social injustice.
“I think ESPN had to grow because now more than ever, those social and political things have become a part of sports,” Clark told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette‘s Joshua Axelrod. “When you’re someone like me who’s been asked to speak at unity marches … I live that stuff. As much as I live football, I also live in trying to bring communities together.”
Ryan Clark says that he will continue to speak up for social change because he remembers a time when he was told that he couldn't even wear a Kaepernick jersey on TV. pic.twitter.com/nN9UiibeRx
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) August 26, 2020
“Ryan elevates everything he is around – including our productions, his colleagues, and the entire staff – with his infectious personality,” said ESPN vice president of production Seth Markman in ESPN’s official announcement.
“While his on the field play and broadcasting talent put him on our radar years ago, during his time with us, he has quickly become one of our most important voices. He represents so much more than a former player to us: He is a great teammate, a family man, and respected member of the community. It is a great day for all of us that he will continue to be part of our family.”
Tomorrow marks 6 years to the day of @Realrclark25 announcing his NFL retirement and joining ESPN.
— bill hofheimer (@bhofheimer_espn) February 17, 2021
Clark’s extension comes days after baseball reporter Buster Olney signed a new contract with the network. That news was first reported by The Big Lead.
“I’m excited to continue my career at ESPN. This was my home even before I retired,” Clark said in the network’s announcement. “Some of my colleagues are more family than co-workers. It’s a blessing to get more opportunities to sit with people I love and talk about the sports I love. Can’t wait until we can finally have a family reunion.”