Rick Reilly on Leaving Sports Illustrated for ESPN: 'They Want Me for the Column'
"They want me for the column," Reilly said on a conference call today. "Pam Anderson can play the harpsichord, but that's not why people date her.... Believe me, with this nose I know what works best for me and the No. 1 thing is writing this column."
That was Reilly's answer when I asked him what he thought of the comments John Feinstein made in this Big Lead post. Feinstein says what Reilly does best is write, and ESPN won't get the best use of his talents. Reilly insists that he won't change as a writer, he'll just appear in ESPN the Magazine instead of Sports Illustrated and add some TV work on top of that.
But I think most people find that a little hard to believe. ESPN is rumored to be paying Reilly in the $2 million a year range ("the money was ridonkulous," Reilly said), and money like that usually goes to TV guys who write a little on the side, not writers who do a little TV on the side.
Reilly mentioned on the conference call that he has two homes, one in Denver and one in Los Angeles, and that the new L.A. studio ESPN is building is "just a 20-minute drive from my beach house." Sounds more like a TV guy to me.