ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Louis Riddick could be making a jump from broadcasting, back into the game itself. On Wednesday it was reported that both the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions has set up interviews with Riddick, with both potentially interested in hiring him for their vacant GM positions.
As an analyst, Riddick has been one of the best parts of Monday Night Football. His knowledge of players and systems shines every single week. To back that up he also has the experience as a former player, and NFL executive to get the job done.
Selected in the 1991 NFL Draft, Riddick was a journeyman running back who played for five different teams over his eight year career. When he finally retired from football all together in 2001 the Washington Football Team hired Riddick as a pro scout, he then rose in executive ranks to director of pro player personnel with the organization, before moving to the Eagles in 2009 to take on similar roles.
Riddick left the NFL in 2013 to become a broadcaster, finally getting his chance on Monday Night Football in 2020 after fans clamored for Riddick to take over for Jason Witten, who announced he was returning to the NFL as a player.
Perhaps the best thing about Riddick’s analysis is his potential to detail. Rather than talking in vast platitudes about scrambling or “danger with their feet,” he’s able to pinpoint the small things that lets players succeed. A few days ago he noted that teams keep flushing Josh Allen out of the pocket to his right, where he scrambles far better than to his left, for instance. It’s this kind of adjustment that could make him an excellent talent evaluator at the next level with an entire organization under him.
Riddick would be the next in a long line of former players making the jump into front office roles. John Elway has been the general manager and president of the Denver Broncos since 2011, while John Lynch recently made the same jump Riddick is trying to, leaving the broadcasting booth in 2017 to become the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, and had so much success in the role he was named executive of the year in 2020.
Should Riddick land with either the Texans or the Lions, he would be the NFL’s third black GM. Riddick would join Andrew Berry of the Cleveland Browns, and Chris Grier of the Miami Dolphins. The league has had a history of diversity problems. Over 70 percent of players are people of color, with under 20 percent in coaching or executive positions.
Not only is Louis Riddick an excellent candidate with a resume that far exceeds other former players who have moved into executive roles, but would set an example that teams are willing to take steps forward for diversity in hiring.