Mike Ditka has reportedly been removed from the cast of ESPN’s flagship NFL program, Sunday NFL Countdown.

ESPN Takes Mike Ditka Off ‘Sunday NFL Countdown’

The Big Lead reports that the Hall of Fame tight end and Super Bowl-winning coach has been cut from the program and will be replaced by free-agent quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who will also go on the road for Monday Night Countdown. The sometimes-controversial Ditka will remain with ESPN, however.

Hasselbeck, an 18-year veteran QB, spent the past three seasons as a player for the Indianapolis Colts. He threw for 1,690 yards nine touchdowns and saw his playing time increased while replacing injured starter Andrew Luck in 2015. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round of the 1998 NFL Draft out of Boston College.

Hasselbeck, 40, announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday morning. He also played for the Tennessee Titans and the Seattle Seahawks, with whom he set the record for career passing yards (29,434) and whom he helped lead to the team’s first Super Bowl appearance in 2006.

Hasselbeck had expressed a desire to play a 19th season in 2016, but was released by the Colts on Feb. 29.

“As a kid, playing in the NFL was always my dream and it turned out to be way more fun than I could’ve ever imagined,” Hasselbeck said in the ESPN statement. “Throughout 18 incredible seasons, I had the chance to forge many relationships with teammates, coaches and staff that I will cherish forever. Those relationships made my playing career all the more memorable. With the support of my family, we’ve made the decision to embark on the next chapter. I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity to have represented the NFL and so many great teams.”

Hasselbeck’s younger brother, Tim, also works for ESPN.

Caption: GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 25: Former American football player, coach, and television commentator Mike Ditka during the 2015 Pro Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 25, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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