ESPN was dealt another blow with Thursday’s news that longtime SportsCenter anchor Neil Everett is leaving the network, departing after 23 glorious years. ESPN tried to retain him at a lower salary, which Everett rejected (you might remember Kenny Mayne left Bristol under similar circumstances in 2021), opting for a fresh start elsewhere. Like Chris Chelios, who suffered the same fate when his contract wasn’t renewed earlier this week, Everett finds himself a casualty of ESPN’s ongoing budget cuts with Disney looking to shed a mammoth $5.5 billion in costs company-wide.
Everett already has a couple irons in the fire—he hopes to expand his studio role with the Portland Trail Blazers next season and is also said to be working on several “side projects.” Still, even with Everett making fewer appearances in recent years, it’s sad he’ll no longer share a desk with Stan Verrett, his co-host of 14 years on the 1 AM ET edition of SportsCenter broadcast from ESPN’s Los Angeles studios.
First paired in 2009, Verrett and Everett made magic together, forming one of the great SportsCenter duos of all-time. Nothing, especially in the ever-evolving landscape of sports media, lasts forever, with ESPN experiencing a mass exodus in recent years, bidding farewell to Mike Golic, Trey Wingo, Dan Le Batard and Tom Rinaldi, among other industry voices.
Even bearing that harsh reality in mind, Verrett couldn’t help feeling nostalgic, sending off Everett with a heartfelt goodbye on Twitter.
I started at espn in 2000, a few months after Neil Everett. We joined up for sportscenter from LA in 2009. For 14 years, he was the best teammate I could imagine. Selfless, caring, generous, and a pro’s pro. He’s moving on now, but we are brothers for life. That’ll never change.
— stan verrett (@stanverrett) June 8, 2023
While you can’t fault ESPN for splurging on Pat McAfee and other big names, there’s something to be said for the on-air bond Verrett and Everett shared for so many years. Viewers will miss their easy chemistry as late-night co-conspirators, kindred spirits who made reading highlights fun.