From the Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein (link courtesy Jon Solomon) :

The network that’s obsessed with controlling — not merely reporting — the news sent out a release at 12:55 p.m. that Dan Patrick would be leaving ESPN after 18 years “to pursue new interests.”

Patrick, who teased his “big announcement” during the first hour of his show, then bid farewell.

“I don’t want to spend a lot of time on it, but I’m going to leave ESPN Aug. 17 and would like to go out on my own,” he said. “I have not been a free agent. I’ve spent 18 years here. It’s been home. But I think I was starting to take it for granted and did not want to do that. Didn’t think it was fair to these great people.

“They did try to talk me out of it a couple of times. But Aug. 17 will be the final show. That final week we will have a celebration week. I go out with my head held high with these people. If there was animosity, I would not be doing any radio shows after this one today. But we’ve talked about it, and it’s time to move on. I hope to be doing radio somewhere, somehow, down the road. TV-wise, I’m not sure.”

Though there were earlier reports of Patrick being pursued for an audition on “The Price Is Right”, Newsday’s Neil Best has already poured cold water on any rumors of Hootie & The Blowfish’s the Arcade Fire’s biggest fan moving to WFAN.