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Since 2006, Todd McShay has worked for ESPN in varying capacities covering college football. In recent years, he has worked as a sideline reporter throughout the college football season. This past Saturday, McShay started on the sidelines for the Wisconsin-Northwestern game, where he provided his standard pregame report. Except this time, something was wrong, and the veteran reporter’s speech and fluidity was noticeably off. After that initial report, McShay was not seen or heard from the remainder of the game. What happened?

Todd McShay is one of ESPN’s top college football experts

Todd McShay started working in the world of college football scouting back in 1999 as a writer for a publication that was eventually bought by ESPN in 2006. Since then, McShay has provided detailed analysis on college football players across the country. 

McShay joined ESPN’s NFL draft day coverage in 2009 and has been a featured contributor during the network’s multi-day coverage. In addition to his work on draft day, he also provides detailed analysis for SportsCenter and other ESPN-branded shows.

In 2014, Todd McShay made his way from the studio down to the field when he debuted as a college football field analyst. A couple of years later, ESPN assigned him to the team of Steve Levy and Brian Griese in the broadcast booth, where they worked together through last season before Levy and Griese joined Monday Night Football.

Todd McShay gets COVID-19 and misses 2020 NFL Draft    

This year, for the first time, Todd McShay was sidelined and not part of ESPN’s NFL draft coverage after testing positive for COVID-19. McShay was hospitalized with a mild case, which included a fever, cough, and extreme exhaustion.

“It’s hard to explain the exhaustion level,” he told USA Today. “That would be the biggest takeaway in terms of what it did to me physically.” 

McShay later admitted on The Adam Schefter Podcast that he didn’t even watch the draft as he lay in the hospital recovering from the illness.

“I got really dark in the hospital,” McShay said. “I knew the draft was going on and I couldn’t watch it. I didn’t watch the draft until Saturday night. I woke up late that night and there was a re-air and I started watching it then because I knew it was over. For whatever reason, I couldn’t watch the draft knowing that I wasn’t a part of it, wasn’t on it, and I felt like I was letting everyone down.”

Scary on-air incident during weekend’s game leaves viewers concerned

During Saturday’s broadcast of the Wisconsin-Northwestern game, as Todd McShay started to deliver his pregame report, it was immediately evident something was off. He paused and stammered his way through the report talking about Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz. 

Twitter was instantly abuzz with concern and speculation about what was wrong with the 43-year-old reporter. Some suggested it might be because of the cold weather. Others said it looked and sounded like he might be under the influence, or more concerning, he might be having a stroke.

At halftime, McShay did not deliver his standard report. Play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough told viewers in the second half that McShay left due to illness.  

On Sunday, ESPN provided a one-line response to the incident according to The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch. “We don’t have an update to share at this time.” 

ESPN has yet to offer any further comment. Interestingly, Todd McShay is listed as a field analyst with the McDonough-led broadcast crew for this weekend’s game between Clemson and Pittsburgh. 

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