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Former Steelers DB Ryan Clark Signs Multi-Year Extension with ESPN

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Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark has signed a multi-year extension with ESPN, the company announced Wednesday.

Clark has become one of ESPN’s brightest stars since joining the company following his retirement in 2014. He shares in his insight and perspective on a number of ESPN’s flagship properties, including SportsCenter with SVP, Get Up, NFL Live and other installments of SportsCenter.

“I’m excited to continue my career at ESPN. This was my home even before I retired. Some of my colleagues are more family than co-workers,” Clark said. “It’s a blessing to get more opportunities to sit with people I love and talk about the sports I love. Can’t wait until we can finally have a family reunion.”

“Ryan elevates everything he is around – including our productions, his colleagues, and the entire staff – with his infectious personality,” ESPN Vice President of Production Seth Markman said. “While his on the field play and broadcasting talent put him on our radar years ago, during his time with us, he has quickly become one of our most important voices. He represents so much more than a former player to us: He is a great teammate, a family man, and respected member of the community. It is a great day for all of us that he will continue to be part of our family.”

A 13-year NFL veteran, Clark spent the bulk of his career in Pittsburgh, where he formed one of the league’s most fearsome safety tandems alongside Trot Polamalu.

In eight years with the Steelers, the hard-hitting Clark tallied 667 combined tackles, 44 passes defended, 12 interceptions, eleven tackles-for-loss and three forced fumbles.

He selected to his lone Pro Bowl in 2011, and won Super Bowl XLIII with the Steelers.

TV & Media

Steelers-Ravens Dominated Ratings Despite Unusual Start Time

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The NFL and NBC may have lost their Thanksgiving night spotlight due to the Baltimore COVID-19 outbreak, but Steelers-Ravens still managed to draw plenty of eyeballs for its unorthodox Wednesday afternoon kickoff.

Demonstrating again why theirs is the NFL’s most competitive, intriguing rivalry, Pittsburgh and Baltimore drew an average of 11.4 million viewers across television and streaming platforms last Wednesday.

An average of 10.8 million tuned in exclusively on television, making the game the most-watched weekday afternoon show of the year, according to Austin Karp of Sports Business Journal.

NBC opted for the peculiar 3:40 kickoff time as to not interfere with their Christmas Tree Lightning broadcast later that night, but the game actually ended up bolstering their viewership for the annual tradition. Many football fans opted to stick around after watching the Steelers improve to 11-0, as NBC also saw their average viewership rise to 7.4 million.

While the league and NBC were never going to make up the viewership they missed out on in primetime on Thanksgiving, they will certainly be encouraged by their ability to make the best of their most challenging virus-related circumstances yet.

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TV & Media

Out-of-Town Steelers Fans Might Not Be Able To Watch Monday’s Game vs. Washington

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The Pittsburgh Steelers will be facing the Washington Football Team on Monday night, but they won’t be playing on Monday Night Football, and Steelers fans around the country might have a hard time tuning into the game.

The Steelers and Washington were originally scheduled to play at 1 p.m. on Sunday, with the game expected to be broadcast regionally on FOX.

FOX will still be carrying the game, and it will kick off at 5 p.m. on Monday in order to not interfere with ESPN’s exclusive Monday Night Football broadcast window.

But the game will only be broadcast regionally on FOX, and in haphazard fashion. Both team’s local markets and adjacent markets, and almost the entire Northeast quarter of the country will be carrying the game.

Outside of the that, fans will be largely out of luck, outside of some pockets around Dallas, Green Bay, Kansas City, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Tampa Bay.

Here’s a full coverage map, from 506 Sports.

Steelers fans in the gray areas will have to be customers of NFL Sunday Ticket in order to see the game or find a streaming option.

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Steelers

Former Steelers LB Ryan Shazier to Join The Ringer, Host NFL Show

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Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is set to join The Ringer upon his retirement from football Wednesday, according to a report by New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand. Marchand says Shazier will be hosting an NFL show each Tuesday for the multimedia company.

Shazier officially announced his retirement in a video on his Twitter on Wednesday, saying he is prepared to “see what else life has to offer.”

Shazier suffered a spinal injury against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 4, 2017, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Following spinal stabilization surgery and continuous rehabilitation, he has regained the ability walk, begun jogging and remained close to the Steelers organization.

He spent two season on the physically unable to perform list, but was placed on the retired list in March, keeping him around the team in a professional capacity and alleviating his impact on the Steelers’ salary cap.

“I’m here to let the world know that today I am officially retiring from the game I love so much,” Shazier said Wednesday. “It’s been over a thousand days since I got hurt on the field. To lose the game in a way I never envisioned has not been easy.”

Shazier was selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, and started 41 games over four seasons in Pittsburgh. He ends his career with 299 tackles, 24 tackles-for-loss, seven sacks, seven interceptions and seven forced fumbles. He was also a two-time Pro Bowler.

Started by sportswriter and podcaster Bill Simmons in 2016, The Ringer is a sports and pop culture website and podcast network. The site was purchased for close to $200 million by Spotify back in February. The Ringer has not yet officially announced that Shazier is joining the company.

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