Chris Mortensen, an NFL reporter for ESPN, has died at the age of 72

Chris Mortensen, an award-winning journalist who covered the NFL for nearly four decades, including 32 as a senior analyst at ESPN, died Sunday morning. He was 72 years old.

ESPN confirmed Mortensen's death on Sunday. There was no immediate news about the cause or location of death.

“Mort was widely respected as an industry leader and universally beloved as a supportive and hard-working colleague,” ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said. In the current situation. “He covered the NFL with exceptional skill and passion, and was at the top of his field for decades. He will be truly missed by his teammates and fans, and our hearts and thoughts are with his loved ones.”

Mortensen Announced in 2016 He had been diagnosed with throat cancer. Even while undergoing treatment, he was the first to confirm Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning's retirement.

“We have lost a true legend,” Manning said he said in a social media post. “Mort was the best in the business and I cherished our friendship. I trusted him with the announcement of my signing with the Broncos and the news of my retirement. I will miss him greatly and my thoughts and prayers are with Mickey and his family. Rest in peace, Mort.”

Mortensen announced his retirement after last year's NFL draft so he could “focus on my health, my family and my faith.”

NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah said During the end of coverage at the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday, Mortensen texted him to ask how he thought Spencer Rattler would do during quarterback drills in Indianapolis.

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“He was one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and he loved his sport,” Jeremiah said. “That's why when we found out about this, the last thing I wanted to do was come here. But man, he would have punched me in the face if we didn't do this and enjoy this great game that I love so much.”

Mortensen joined ESPN in 1991, and for years helped shape the network's coverage as the NFL expanded into year-round coverage. Besides appearing on countless network shows, he has also written for ESPN.com.

“Chris will forever be part of the NFL family. He was loved by so many, a great voice for the game, and as passionate and talented as ever,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. Quickly to Chris as I visited him often in Austin during my early years. We bonded greatly there.”

He received the Pro Football Writers of America's Dick McCann Award in 2016. It was renamed the Bill Nunn Jr. Award in 2021 and is presented annually during the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies to a reporter who has had a long and distinguished career. Contribute through their coverage of the game.

“I admired how hard Chris worked to become one of the most influential and respected reporters in sports. He earned our respect and the respect of so many others through his relentless pursuit of news but also through kindness,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Which he introduced to everyone he met.” “He will be missed by many of us in the league who were fortunate to know him well beyond the stories he posted every Sunday.”

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Mortensen also worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1983 to 1989. He covered the Atlanta Falcons from 1985 to 1986 and the league from 1985 to 1989. He left for The National in 1989 and worked there for about two years.

He has been an NFL columnist for The Sporting News and a contributing writer for Sport magazine. He was also a consultant for CBS' “The NFL Today” in 1990.

“I have considered Chris a personal hero of mine, and it is truly difficult to imagine sports journalism without him. His ability to always confront life’s obstacles with tenacity and tenacity was truly inspiring, and his tremendous impact on so many will continue to exist, including “In them I am, continuing through this work and unwavering friendships.”

A native of Torrance, California, Mortensen attends El Camino College. He served two years in the Army before beginning his journalism career at the South Bay (California) Daily Breeze in 1969.

“Absolutely devastating day. Mort was one of the greatest reporters in the history of the sport, and an even better man,” said ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter. On social media. “Mort was the best ever. We will miss and remember him forever.”

He is survived by his wife, Mickey, and son, Alex.

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