Hours before the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft was set to televise, ESPN’s Todd McShay provided a sobering reminder of why this year’s annual player selection meeting would be very different.

One of the top draft analysts wasn’t going to be available for this year’s event after announcing that he had contracted COVID-19. McShay explaining that he wouldn’t be on the NFL Draft telecast indicated that his condition was rather serious.

Elsewhere on TV, we’ve seen other broadcasters like CNN’s Chris Cuomo and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos continue to work from home after contracting COVID-19. Yet even working remotely, like everyone involved in the draft telecast, wasn’t going to be an option for McShay. During the draft, he was in the hospital.

On the latest edition of The Adam Schefter Podcast, ESPN’s NFL insider talked to McShay about his experience recovering from COVID-19 and how it felt missing out on his signature annual event.

“It got really dark in the hospital when I was by myself,” McShay told Schefter. “I couldn’t watch the draft knowing I wasn’t being a part of it, wasn’t on it. And I felt like I was letting everyone down.”

McShay went on to explain that the coughing and fever were difficult to deal with, but it was the exhaustion he felt that was the worst part of the entire ordeal. Comparing it to summer workouts as a college football player (he played at the University of Richmond), McShay said the effects of COVID-19 were much worse. Just sending a text to his producer or appearing on TV required hours of rest afterward. He even slept through a few scheduled hits because he was so worn out.

“The scary part is that I had a mild case,” McShay said. “It just lingered because I wasn’t taking care of myself. Preparing for the draft, I had a 400-page book that I distribute internally and that we use for draft weekend. The stress of getting ready for the draft and then knowing that I might potentially miss the draft, the doctors said that it all added up.”

Above all, however, McShay knows how fortunate he is and sympathizes with those who have had much worse experiences with COVID-19. He also made a point to express gratitude to all of the health care workers and first responders who have helped and put themselves at risk during this pandemic.

You can listen to The Adam Schefter Podcast on Apple Podcasts and several other podcast platforms, and at ESPN’s Podcenter.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and Asheville's Mountain XPress. He's written for Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.