A workaholic, sports commentator Dan Patrick recently revealed it was his wife who helped him put things into proper perspective — and ultimately leave ESPN.
Patrick told The Ringer’s Kyle Brandt he was on the precipice of signing a five-year deal with ESPN, until his wife, Susan, shared with her husband why that might not be the best choice to make.
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“My four kids were aged 9-15, and I was going to sign a new five-year deal at ESPN,” he recalled on Brandt’s “10 Questions” podcast. “I remember that morning, my wife said, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ She said, ‘They’re all gonna be out of the house when you’re done with this.’ I’m not even thinking that.”
Before hearing his wife’s perspective, Patrick was only thinking about one thing: the money.
Then, though, he made the uncharacteristic — and even countercultural — decision to reject the impressive offer in front of him. He told ESPN, “No,” choosing his family over profits.
“I remember going in,” Patrick recalled, “and I went upstairs, and my boss said, ‘What are you gonna do? Take it or leave it?’ I paused, and said, ‘I’m gonna leave it.’ He didn’t hear me. … I said, ‘No, I’m gonna leave.'”
Patrick’s first call was to his wife Susan, who at first didn’t understand he was walking away from ESPN. But once she realized what was happening, she told her husband they would make it work — even if that meant selling their home.
“That’s when it hit me: She had perspective, I had none,” Patrick explained. “I’m on TV, making great money. She’s raising the kids. I was so blind to it. And thank God I came home.”
The legendary sports broadcaster then started running his radio show, which he started just months after leaving ESPN, out of the attic of their house, his staff stepping into their morning routine at 7 a.m. each day, a scene he described as “unbelievable.”
Nevertheless, it’s not a decision he regrets.
“I have three daughters, and it was so important to be around them,” he said, noting they were nine, 11, and 12 years old at the time. “And they needed me there; I didn’t know how much. And even my son, who was 15.”
He said leaving ESPN in 2007 to prioritize his family was “the best decision I ever made.”
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