Just two days after Sports Illustrated announced former ESPN hostess Dan Patrick as their new blogger / weekly columnist / awards show host and streaming radio mouthpiece, Newsday’s Neil Best dropped the following, undoubtedly related bombshell.

Columnist Rick Reilly plans to leave Sports Illustrated when his contract expires at the end of next month, a person familiar with Reilly’s situation said Friday.

It is not entirely clear where Reilly is headed, but ESPN is considered a probable landing spot.

The Big Lead
follows with the news that Reilly will begin toiling for ESPN next June.  SI’s former back of the book columnist is guaranteed employment next Summer, while Barry Bonds isn’t.

I’m not entirely sure how what effectively comes down to a swap of big name talent really benefits ESPN in this instance, but presumably there’s a huge demographic out there that would be more inclined to purchase The Magazine if it contained more love letters to Lance Armstrong.