Having jumped from Sports Illustrated to ESPN The Magazine, columnist/author Rick Reilly is now in the midst of a 5 year, $17 million contract with the Worldwide Leader, a scenario the Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein writes, makes Reilly “the Alex Rodriguez of sportswriting”. Hey, I’m not a Reilly fan but I don’t think he’s nearly that big a narcissist.

The 11-time National Sportswriter of the Year plans to give ESPN its money’s worth starting next week.

Early assignments include an essay during ESPN’s coverage of the June 7 Belmont Stakes and a column for ESPN the Magazine that hits newsstands Wednesday.

The topic: Reilly’s father, Jack, who died last month.

“It will be an emotional, confessional thing,” he said.

In addition to his every-other-week magazine column, Reilly will write biweekly columns for ESPN.com.

He’ll do essays for SportsCenter ” “I hope you don’t have hi-def,” he joked ” and is developing a monthly show called “ESPN Homecoming.”

You’ve heard of “Inside the Actor’s Studio”? This would be like “Inside the Athlete’s Studio” with the athlete surrounded by friends, family and former teammates in his hometown.

Reilly’s dream gets would include Brett Favre, Mike Tyson, Sandy Koufax, Charles Barkley and Lance Armstrong.

“My goal is to ask questions he has never heard before,” Reilly said.

“Then throw some questions to the audience, maybe his 3rd-grade teacher.”

Presumably, Reilly’s paymasters might also like to see an interview with a contemporary athlete. Failing that, however, it would be terrific to see Reilly chat with Armstrong and Barry Bonds on the same program, provided they’re asked similar questions.