Harper, Rodgers join SEC Nation cast
Super Bowl Champion and former NFL Pro Bowl safety Roman Harper has signed a multi-year deal to join SEC Network, filling the fourth chair on SEC Nation. Harper, an All-SEC performer for the Alabama Crimson Tide, joins host Laura Rutledge and analysts Tim Tebow and Nation newcomer Jordan Rodgers behind the desk. Harper will appear regularly on additional SEC Network studio shows, including SEC Now and The Paul Finebaum Show, and made his official debut on SEC Now Monday night for the network's SEC schedule reveal show.
"The opportunity to join SEC Network means the world to me, and it's something I've been working toward for a long time," Harper said. "Since my playing career ended, I've been focused on being the best version of myself as an analyst. I never saw this career opportunity coming in my life, and I take the responsibility of having a valued voice in this conference and on this network very seriously."
Harper, who spent nine of his 11 NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints, was recently announced as a 2020 inductee into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame. The Alabama alum, who was a team captain when the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV, played with New Orleans from 2006-13 and finished his playing career with the organization in 2016. Harper also spent two seasons (2014-15) with the Carolina Panthers, helping lead the team to Super Bowl 50. As a broadcaster, Harper spent the past two seasons as a Saints analyst with WDSU in New Orleans, worked for Charlotte's FOX 46 and currently hosts "The Clubhouse Podcast" with Kyle Bailey.
"I can't wait for viewers to get to know a new side of Roman Harper," said ESPN senior vice president of production, Lee Fitting. "SEC fans remember the all-conference standout at Alabama, and NFL fans know Roman as a Pro Bowl and Super Bowl Champion safety, playing a decade in the league for the Saints and Panthers. Now our viewers will see him excel in a different role. From the moment you interact with Roman, his enthusiastic and unique insight about SEC football, as well as his personable and perspective nature, is tangible. Soon, SEC fans will seek his analysis and embrace his personality, while Roman will undoubtedly match their passion for the conference. The complete package makes Roman a great addition to our commentator roster."
Born and raised in Prattville, Ala., Harper currently resides in Charlotte with his wife and four children. He is the founder of Harper's Hope 4*1 Foundation, which focuses on strengthening families and encouraging children to reach their unlimited potential, regardless of their circumstances. The nonprofit does outreach in the Charlotte and New Orleans communities and throughout the state of Alabama.
"The SEC Nation family has welcomed me with open arms," Harper noted. "The cast and crew is so successful and talented, but they're so family oriented, too. The SEC is the best conference in the country, and why not work with the best and be around the best? It's where I chose to play college football and to get a chance to take this next step in my broadcasting career, I couldn't be more excited."
Rodgers, who will join Harper and Tebow as an analyst on the show, has been with the network since July 2016. The Vanderbilt grad started as a studio analyst before moving into the SEC Saturday Night booth at the start of the 2017 season. The SEC Saturday Night franchise features a marquee, primetime SEC game each week, with Rodgers joining play-by-play commentator Tom Hart and field analyst Cole Cubelic. Rodgers will continue in his role on SEC Saturday Night with Hart and Cubelic.
"Jordan is no stranger to our viewers and he's going to be a fantastic addition to the Nation cast," said ESPN senior coordinating producer Tom McCollum. "Not only does he have a rapport with our crew, but his knowledge of the game and passion for football already make him a must-watch on Saturdays. Now our viewers will get to start and end their college football Saturdays with Jordan's analysis and insight."
While Rodgers is a newcomer to the Nation desk as a permanent cast member, he has appeared on the show throughout the past few seasons as both a substitute analyst and guest.
Further details regarding SEC Network's fall programming will be announced in the coming weeks.