ESPN analyst Marcus Spears is the latest guest for 247Sports’ Social Distance series, and while Spears is a familiar face to college football fans given he spent the last six years of his career with the SEC Network, this fall he’s trying on a new role.
Spears, a former LSU star who was a first-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2005, is a central part of ESPN’s retooled NFL Live, which begins Aug. 17 (4 p.m. ET). For Spears it’s meant a move to the Northeast, a new beat and a liberating opportunity to speak his mind even more.
“The NFL gave me freedom to give opinion a little more sternly and harshly because these are grown men and this is the reality of their job,” Spears told 247Sports’ Josh Pate. “In college, you have kids who are going through so much outside of the game that you have to be really careful. … We have a responsibility not only to be honest and true, but also to be good people.”
Joining Spears in the transition to NFL Live is host Laura Rutledge, another former SEC Network personality. Spears is glad to have the familiarity and the comfort level that Rutledge will bring to the set — and he’s expecting great chemistry with fellow new additions Mina Kimes, Dan Orlovsky and Keyshawn Johnson.
“I want people to know NFL Live was not broken,” Spears said. “There were a lot of people doing great work on NFL Live. But the fact that we’re about to have a crew that’s consistent and we can get a chance to put our stamp on that thing … everybody is super excited, man. It’s going to be fun.”