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ESPN gives odd explanation for Lee Corso abruptly leaving NFL draft set

One of the stranger scenes to play out during coverage of the 2019 NFL Draft on Thursday night was how Lee Corso abruptly departed the “ESPN College GameDay” set in Nashville, Tenn., during live coverage.

As odd as it appeared, ESPN’s take on the situation, while making sense on paper, may be even a bit odder in that it does not adequately explain the nature and timing of Corso suddenly up and sauntering off while Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard just sat there.

The surreal scene played out as the crew were reviewing the 11th pick in the draft when the Cincinnati Bengals’ selection of former Alabama tackle Jonah Williams.

“Taking off on us?,” Davis asked.

“Yeah, I gotta go,” Corso said. “See you guys. I’ll see you guys in the fall.”

And off he went.

When reached by SI’s Jimmy Traina for comment on Corso’s strolling off set without warning, an ESPN spokesperson said the plan all along was for the longtime college football analyst to work only a portion of the network’s first-round coverage.

Fair enough, but there presumably has to be more to the story. There’s no way ESPN thought this was the route to take when it was time for Corso to depart, nor is it likely that the network’s producers were any less stunned over the scene than the viewing public.