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Former Husky, ESPN football analyst cites player safety for quitting

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FILE - This Sept. 16, 2013, file photo shows the ESPN logo prior to an NFL football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Cincinnati. Former longtime ESPN college football analyst Ed Cunningham told The New York Times for an article published Aug. 30, 2017, that he left the network in part out of concern over injuries to players, especially brain trauma. (AP Photo/David Kohl, File)

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) - Longtime ESPN college football analyst Ed Cunningham says he left the network in part out of concern over injuries to players, especially brain trauma.

Cunningham tells The New York Times he stepped down following the April layoffs of dozens of ESPN on-air staffers. He says he told ESPN he was leaving to focus on his family and other work projects, not revealing initially that ethical concerns were another main reason for leaving.

He tells the Times he doesn't "currently think the game is safe for the brain."

ESPN spokesman Derek Volner tells The Associated Press that Cunningham "was in good standing at ESPN when he let us know his decision to leave."

The 48-year-old Cunningham was a standout offensive lineman at Washington and played five seasons in the NFL.

He tells the Times he could no longer continue supporting football in his analyst role, saying he "can just no longer be in that cheerleader's spot."

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