Rice, Mangini, and Woody Join ESPN as NFL Analysts

Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice, former Cleveland Browns and New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini, and 12-year NFL veteran offensive lineman Damien Woody are joining ESPN as a NFL studio analysts.

Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch is reporting that ESPN has hired Jerry Rice as an analyst, with the formal announcement to come later this week. Rice will appear on NFL Live, SportsCenter and ESPN’s Audibles show, which will air weekly this fall on Thursday nights. On Audibles, Rice will be reunited with his former Niners quarterback Steve Young. He is scheduled to start at ESPN on Sept. 15 and will be based on the West Coast. The Hall of Famer’s sports media experience includes co-hosting Sports Sunday on NBC Bay Area after 49ers games last season. He has served as an analyst for BBC Television’s coverage of the NFL and co-hosted an afternoon show on Sirius NFL Radio.

Mangini will appear on NFL Live, SportsCenter, ESPN2’s First Take, and other programs throughout the year in addition to contributing analysis on ESPN Radio and other platforms.  He is scheduled to start on Wednesday, Aug. 17. A head coach for the last five NFL seasons, Mangini coached the New York Jets from 2006-08 and more recently the Browns (2009-10).

“Eric brings a wealth of knowledge from his experiences as an assistant and a head coach,” said Seth Markman, ESPN senior coordinating producer for NFL studio shows.  “Eric is one of the smartest football people I’ve ever been around. Adding him to our roster will enhance our ability to give viewers the best available analysis on the NFL from all angles.”

Mangini, who worked as an ESPN guest analyst during the 2010 NFL playoffs previewing the AFC Divisional Playoff matchup between the Jets and Patriots, added, “I am excited to join the ESPN team for the upcoming season.  With my reputation for access and ease with the media, it seems like a natural fit. I am always impressed by how knowledgeable fans are and by their passion to learn more about their team, the league and the strategy of the game, and I hope to add meaningful insight.

“As for my new role, I have been preparing diligently, by picking out tribal tattoos for my lower leg and doing triple shots of espresso to match Herm Edwards’ energy level.”

Woody is joining ESPN as an NFL analyst, and will appear on several studio programs such as SportsCenter, NFL Live, First Take, and ESPNEWS.  The two-time Super Bowl winner will make his ESPN debut in September. He announced his retirement from professional football at a press conference last week. He was selected No. 17 overall in the 1999 NFL Draft as a center by the New England Patriots and played for three teams – Patriots (1999 – 2003), Detroit Lions (2004 – 2007), and New York Jets (2008 – 2010) – in 12 NFL seasons. Over 12 seasons, Woody played 173 games, 166 as a starter.  He earned two Pro Bowl selections in 2002 and 2004.

“Damien’s play on the field, leadership in the locker room, and understanding of the game, earned him the respect of his peers,” said Seth Markman, ESPN senior coordinating producer for NFL studio shows.  “We are pleased to have Damien on our team, and his recent experience as a player will give our viewers a fresh perspective on the game.”

“I’m grateful for all the support over the years from my family, my fans, and the league,” said Woody. “I’m excited to start the next phase of my career, moving from the NFL family to the ESPN family, and I feel blessed to continue to be a part of the game of football.”