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ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne to leave after 27 years as Chris Berman signs multi-year deal

ESPN made two significant roster moves on Monday, cutting ties anchor Kenny Mayne after 27 years, while re-committing to Chris Berman, a network mainstay since 1979.

The two decisions were revealed on Monday afternoon, beginning with Mayne, who broke the news with his trademark humor.

'I am leaving ESPN. Salary cap casualty,' he tweeted, likening himself to an athlete getting cut by a cash-strapped team.

ESPN made two significant roster moves on Monday, cutting ties anchor Kenny Mayne (pictured) after 27 years, while re-committing to Chris Berman, a network mainstay since 1979

The two decisions were revealed on Monday afternoon, beginning with Mayne, who broke the news with his trademark humor, joking that he was a 'salary cap casualty.' Mayne, 61, also took the opportunity to thank former ESPN vice presidents Vince Doria and Al Jaffe

Chris Berman's tenure at ESPN, which began in 1979, will continue after he signed a new deal 

ESPN began in Bristol, Connecticut in 1979, and signed anchor Chris Berman shortly thereafter

Mayne, 61, also took the opportunity to thank former ESPN vice presidents Vince Doria and Al Jaffe.

'I will miss the people,' he continued, referencing his longtime on-air colleague, Scott Van Pelt. 'I will miss the vending machine set up over by the old Van Pelt joint. We had everything.'

The New York Post's Andrew Marchand reported that Mayne was offered a pay cut, but declined.

Known for his dry delivery, which was often drenched in sarcasm, Mayne took an uncommon path to the Connecticut-based cable network.

Mayne played quarterback at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he preceded future NFL Most Valuable Player Randall Cunningham under center for the Running Rebels. Mayne later signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks in his native Washington, but he never fully recovered from an ankle injury he suffered in his senior season, and was ultimately cut by the team

He played quarterback at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he preceded future NFL Most Valuable Player Randall Cunningham under center for the Running Rebels. Mayne later signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks in his native Washington, but he never fully recovered from an ankle injury he suffered in his senior season, and was ultimately cut by the team.

Mayne then switched his focus to journalism, and began his career at KSTW in Seattle, where, according to former ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell, his first job was to monitor the police scanner.

His move to ESPN was aided by what is likely the most celebrated cover letter in network history.

'Dear John,' began the letter from Mayne to then-ESPN executive editor John Walsh in March of 1994. 'Please mark the appropriate box and return as I am in the process of planning my future.'

The body of the cover letter contained three options for Walsh to check:

'It just hit us — we love your work. Contract is on the way. Stand by the mailbox.

'Keep up the field producing. We'll call you when we need you.

'We'll consider hiring you about the time ESPN5 hits the air.'

At the time, the network had just launched ESPN 2.

Kenny Mayne pictured as he's taken off the field by UNLV trainers after his ankle injury in 1980

Mayne's move to ESPN was aided by the most celebrated cover letter in network history

Mayne (left) was also known for his humorous SportsCenter commercials, such as this, in which he had a dance party with 7-foot-7 Washington Bullets center Gheorghe Muresan 

ESPN's Major League Baseball insider Jeff Passan responded by sharing a link to a charity with which Mayne was involved. 'You love @Kenny_Mayne because of course you do,' Passan tweeted. 'He started an organization called Run Freely. It provides veterans with leg issues the devices to run again. It is a wonderful cause. If you want to honor the amazing work Kenny did, please do it here'

In response to an unrelated tweet from Keith Olbermann, the man he replaced on ESPN's SportsCenter, Mayne joked about his potential future as a podcaster 

Mayne was hired shortly thereafter, starting as the host of ESPN's auto racing show, RPM 2Night, before replacing Keith Olbermann on the SportsCenter desk, where he quickly became one of the network's stars.

In addition to his own personalized segments, such as 'Mayne Street,' the former college quarterback also gained notoriety for his wisecracking 'This is SportsCenter' commercials, and for a brief stint on Dancing with the Stars on ESPN's parent network, ABC.

There was an outpouring of support for Mayne on social media from his friends and colleagues after he announced the move.

'So many people use sarcasm as a crutch to be mean,' wrote Rachel Nichols. '@Kenny_Mayne's secret sauce is sarcasm as a weapon for compassion, brilliant observations mixed with a sense of wonder & appreciation for the good (while still being the most clever guy in the room). I can't wait for what's next.'

ESPN's Major League Baseball insider Jeff Passan responded by sharing a link to a charity with which Mayne was involved.

'You love @Kenny_Mayne because of course you do,' Passan tweeted. 'He started an organization called Run Freely. It provides veterans with leg issues the devices to run again. It is a wonderful cause. If you want to honor the amazing work Kenny did, please do it here.'

Mayne also poked fun of himself in a response to an unrelated tweet from Olberman.

'There are ENOUGH goddamned podcasts,' tweeted the former ESPN and MSNBC host.

'I feel like there's too for one more,' Mayne joked.

With Mayne leaving, ESPN signed a multi-year extension with Berman, who has been the face of the network's NFL coverage, in addition to other roles, for the last 42 years.

'Quite simply, Chris Berman has personified ESPN's success for more than four decades,' ESPN executive vice president and executive editor Norby Williams said in a statement. 'Fans respond to his authentic love of sports, his ability to savor and capture the big moments, and his on-air style that reminds us how live games can truly be equal parts essential and fun. We are delighted that Boomer's magical ride at ESN will continue for years to come.'

Berman arrived in Bristol, Connecticut shortly after ESPN was founded in 1979.

Known as 'Boomer,' for his thunderous voice, Berman is most recognized for his catchphrases and player nicknames such as former Cincinnati Bengals running back Eric 'Sleeping With' Bieniemy (a nod to the 1991 film) and retired New York Yankees pitcher Dave 'No Man an is an' Eiland.'

Known as 'Boomer,' for his thunderous voice, Berman is most recognized for his catchphrases and player nicknames such as former Cincinnati Bengals running back Eric 'Sleeping With' Bieniemy (a nod to the 1991 film) and retired MLB pitcher Dave 'No Man an is an' Eiland

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