Longtime ESPN NFL Reporter Chris Mortensen Dead At 72

By Jason Hall

March 3, 2024

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Award-winning longtime ESPN NFL journalist Chris Mortensen has died at the age of 72, his family announced through the media company on Sunday (March 3).

Mortensen contributed to ESPN's NFL coverage since 1991, breaking numerous stories throughout his four decades with the company, including eventual Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning's retirement in 2016, and receiving the Pro Football Writers of America's Dick McCann Award and being honored during the Pro Football Hall of Fame's enshrinement ceremony that same year.

"Mort was widely respected as an industry pioneer and universally beloved as a supportive, hard-working teammate," said Jimmy Pitaro, chairman of ESPN, in a statement shared by the company. "He covered the NFL with extraordinary skill and passion, and was at the top of his field for decades. He will truly be missed by colleagues and fans, and our hearts and thoughts are with his loved ones."

Mortsensen, who initially revealed he was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer in January 2016, stepped away from his role with ESPN in 2023 "to focus on my health, family and faith." The veteran journalist had previously contributed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The National, The Sporting News and CBS Sports' 'NFL Today' prior to joining ESPN.

"Mort helped set the journalism standard in the early days of ESPN. His credibility, attention to detail and reporting skills catapulted our news and information to a new level," said Norby Williamson, executive editor and head of studio production for ESPN, in a statement shared by the company. "More importantly, he was a great teammate and human being. He personified care and respect for people which became the culture of ESPN."

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