Former Buccaneers star Keyshawn Johnson is among ESPN layoffs

  • ESPN laid off roughly 20 on-air personalities on Friday
  • Johnson helped the Bucs win a Super Bowl back in 2002

Keyshawn Johnson runs after the catch
Keyshawn Johnson runs after the catch / Brian Bahr/GettyImages

Friday was one of the most brutal and bloody days in sports history. ESPN, which rose to represent sports and fandom through the 90s and 2000s, announced mass layoffs that gutted its on-air talent pool.

It was a mas exodus unlike one we’ve ever seen before at the network, and one that signals a massive change in direction for ESPN. What the future holds is unclear, but right now all we know is that the once great and iconic sports network is being stripped for parts and shaved to the bone in an attempt to pivot and re-brand itself for a new generation of fans.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson was among those informed on Friday that he no longer had a job at ESPN. Johnson started at the four letter network back in 2007 right before he announced his retirement from the NFL. He was officially joined as a part of the Sunday NFL Countdown crew and remained with ESPN in various different roles as an expert and personality until Friday.

Johnson spent the best years of his career with the Buccaneers, setting career-highs in receptions, total yards, and receiving average while also winning a Super Bowl. He’s still remembered as a New York Jet, but it’s safe to say the history books will remember him as a member of the Buccaners.

According to the New York Post, Johnson isn’t in as tough a spot as it may seem. He’s going to collect every penny of his $18 million contract he signed with the network and is already being eyed as Shannon Sharpe’s replacement on FS1’s Undisputed.

List of ESPN layoffs (Updated)

Johnson is certainly a notable name to hear as part of the ESPN layoffs, but he’s not the deepest cut the company made.

  • Jeff Van Gundy
  • Suzy Kolber
  • Jalen Rose
  • Max Kellerman
  • Steve Young
  • Todd McShay
  • Matt Hasselbeck
  • Ashley Brewer
  • Joon Lee
  • LaPhonso Ellis

NFL Draft expert Todd McShay was let go, as was the iconic Suzy Kolber who had been with the network since 1996.

Outside of the NFL, big time talent like Jeff Van Gundy, Jalen Rose, and Keyshawn’s partner Max Kellerman were all tossed to the scrap heap as a cost-cutting measure.

The layoffs are in the shadow of ESPN giving an $85 million contract to Pat McAfee as it pivots toward that sort of sports coverage. The days of ESPN as we knew it are over, as the age of ESPN TikTok and Twitch-style shows seems to be on the horizon.

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