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ESPN hires A-Rod, eyes Manning to replace Gruden

© GETTY/AFP/File | Alex Rodriguez, pictured in 2013, will join ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team

NEW YORK (AFP) - 

All-Star slugger Alex Rodriguez, whose 22-year career was tarnished by performance-enhancing drugs, was named Tuesday as a Major League Baseball analyst for ESPN, which also admits interest in Peyton Manning for an NFL commentary job.

Rodriguez, fourth on the all-time major league home run list with 696, helped the New York Yankees to the 2009 World Series title but the Dominican shortstop and third baseman, now 42, confessed in 2009 to taking steroids from 2001 to 2003.

"A-Rod" was also suspended for the entire 2014 campaign for his role in the Biogenesis doping scandal. He retired in 2016 and last year worked as a Fox Sports analyst while dating actress-singer Jennifer Lopez.

Now he joins ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team.

"I'm looking forward to this new chapter in my broadcasting career," Rodriguez said. "It's an exciting time in baseball and now I get that front-row seat to tell that story every Sunday night on ESPN."

Just as Rodriguez replaces Aaron Boone, who departed to manage the Yankees, ESPN is looking at two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Manning to replace Jon Gruden, who departed to coach the Oakland Raiders, on Monday Night Football.

"We like Peyton Manning and we would be foolish not to talk to him," ESPN executive Stephanie Druley told Sports Illustrated in a posting on the magazine's website.

Manning, 41, is a five-time NFL Most Valuable Player who retired after the 2015 campaign as the league's all-time passing leader with 71,940 yards and 539 touchdown passes. He guided Indianapolis to the Super Bowl 41 crown and Denver to victory in Super Bowl 50 in his final season.

© 2018 AFP