ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown is currently being televised, but regular host Sam Ponder is not taking part in this week’s broadcast.
According to New York Post sports media reporter Andrew Marchand, Ponder’s absence is related to Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury testing positive for COVID-19. Kingsbury is out for today’s game, and since Ponder interviewed him two days ago, she is being held off Countdown.
Laura Rutledge is filling in for Ponder alongside Randy Moss, Tedy Bruschi and Rex Ryan.
Laura Rutledge in for Sam Ponder on Countdown as Ponder interviewed Kliff Kingsbury Friday.
Kingsbury tested positive for COVID. Both Kingsbury & Ponder are vaccinated and feel fine.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) October 17, 2021
This has been a busy week for Rutledge, a core member of ESPN’s college football coverage. She hosted SEC Nation on Saturday and is now jumping over to NFL Countdown today.
The fall is definitely Wonder Woman season for @LauraRutledge who is hosting Sunday NFL Countdown this morning for Sam Ponder. Yep, this is a seven-day work week for her w/ NFL Live, #SECNation and now Countdown. And she's super-prepared for every single show. pic.twitter.com/N2jLbBvpIB
— bill hofheimer (@bhofheimer_espn) October 17, 2021
As for Ponder, we don’t anticipate this being a long absence for her, especially if she doesn’t wind up actually testing positive for COVID-19.
Hopefully she’s back in her usual seat next Sunday.