To everyone who sent texts, messages, tweets, etc today... thank you for the love and the memories of a lifetime. So much thought, prayer and yeah, maybe some tears went into this decision. I can't describe how much I will miss my college football family but I am thrilled to start this new exciting adventure. My letter to all of you is linked under my profile. ❤
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ESPN sportscaster, Samantha Ponder announced Thursday she will leave her current role at College GameDay for a new position covering the NFL.
As acclaimed and veteran sportscaster ESPN Chris Berman transitions into his new role for the 2017 season, Ponder will be moving from the network’s College GameDay and ABC’s Saturday Night Football to the studio as the new host of NFL Sunday Countdown.
In a heartfelt letter shared to the network’s Front Row, the 31-year-old said she couldn’t be more grateful to be part of the NFL family.
“There is no such thing as replacing Chris Berman,” Ponder said. “But the chance to build on his incredible legacy while simultaneously taking new risks to serve NFL fans is the opportunity of a lifetime.”
She went on to acknowledge the hundreds of girls she met on college campuses who shared their stories and aspiration to work in reporting football, adding, “You have inspired me and reminded me of the kind of woman I want to be.”
Ponder took to Instagram to share a photo of her with daughter, Bowden Sainte-Claire and a slideshow of memories with a message to fans, family and friends who showed their support and love for her decision to move.
“To everyone who sent texts, messages, tweets, etc today... thank you for the love and the memories of a lifetime. So much thought, prayer and yeah, maybe some tears went into this decision,” she captioned. “I can’t describe how much I will miss my college football family but I am thrilled to start this new exciting adventure.”
The Arizona-native has been with College GameDay since 2012 and reveals in her letter that it is not an easy industry, but made it through with immense love and support.
“I know many women in this industry have to deal with men who are belittling, unsupportive or even inappropriate. Not a single moment or day went by when one of you made me feel anything but equal,” she said.
In addition to hosting the Sunday NFL Countdown, Ponder will also contribute NFL interviews and exclusive features.
Ponder is currently pregnant with her second child, due this spring.