Current, former Steelers join ESPN

AP

ESPN has added a pair of Steelers, one current and one former, to its ever-growing roster of NFL analysts.

From the ranks for the former players, running back Jerome Bettis has joined ESPN as an analyst.  He previously worked on a national level with NBC.  His return to a coast-to-coast platform won’t hurt come February, when Bettis once again makes a run at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Bettis will appear on NFL Live, SportsCenter, and other ESPN platforms beginning September 1.

More surprising is the Steelers’ decision to bring in safety Ryan Clark, who still plays for the team.   He’ll be, via Chris Mortensen of ESPN, an in-season and offseason contributor.

It’s an intriguing move by ESPN, but the fact that Clark would see fit to spend time in Bristol while working for the Steelers raises fresh questions about the quality of the locker-room leadership in Pittsburgh.  During a stint earlier this year with ESPN, Clark stirred up the Patriots by calling Danny Amendola fragile and claiming Tom Brady ducks when blitzed.  As a result, the Steelers gain nothing from having Clark potentially say things that could undermine the broader effort of winning football games.

UPDATE 5:51 p.m. ET: ESPN has clarified that the network did not hire Ryan Clark, but he has agreed to make unpaid appearances on ESPN shows this season.