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Report: Matt Hasselbeck heading to ESPN

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According to The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre, former Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is heading to ESPN to replace Mike Ditka on the network's Sunday NFL Countdown show.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts informed backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck that they won't be re-signing him once his contract expires at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9, despite the quarterback's interest in playing another season in the NFL.  He would certainly have suitors if indeed he wished to continue playing, but it sounds like he'll take a job talking about the game instead.

According to The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre, Hasselbeck was "deep in negotiations" with ESPN on Tuesday night to become a part of the network's Sunday NFL Countdown show, saying the announcement could come as soon as Wednesday.  McIntyre reports that ESPN is removing Mike Ditka from the show, and it sounds like Matt Hasselbeck will be the replacement on one of the network's biggest shows.

It would be an absolutely perfect fit for Hasselbeck, who is tremendous with the media and a very intelligent and knowledgable person to talk football with.  He's expressed interest in pursuing a media career before, even spending bye weeks in broadcast booths before - something he planned to do again in 2015 before finding out of Andrew Luck's injury and taking over as the starting quarterback, something that took precedent.

Hasselbeck spent the past three seasons with the Colts as the backup for Luck, and in 2015 he was thrust into the starting duties and started eight games.  During his 18 year career, Hasselbeck played for the Green Bay Packers (two seasons), Seattle Seahawks (ten seasons), Tennessee Titans (two seasons), and Indianapolis Colts (three seasons), playing in 209 career games and starting 160 of them.  He completed 3,222 of 5,330 passes (60.5%) for 36,638 yards (6.9 yards per attempt), 212 touchdowns, and 153 interceptions for a passer rating of 82.4.  He made three Pro Bowls and led his team to the Super Bowl in 2005, only to lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers.  After his play in 2015, Hasselbeck likely would be a sought-after backup quarterback this offseason in a league desperate for quarterback options, but instead it appears he's heading to ESPN - and, perhaps, retiring from the NFL.  If so, it has been a very good career for a guy who entered the league as an undrafted free agent way back in 1998.  And if Hasselbeck really does go to ESPN as it sounds like he will, it's a win for football fans and ESPN viewers, as Hasselbeck will be a great fit on the show and will be able to aptly communicate and discuss football.