Veteran NFL reporter Chris Mortensen dies at 72

Field Level Media

March 03, 2024 at 10:14 pm.

Chris Mortensen, an award-winning NFL reporter who spent the bulk of his decorated career with ESPN, died on Sunday, the network announced. He was 72.

Mortensen, affectionately known by his colleagues as “Mort,” announced last September that he had stepped away from ESPN following that April’s NFL draft to “focus on (his) health, family and faith.”

“Mort was widely respected as an industry pioneer and universally beloved as a supportive, hard-working teammate,” ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement. “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.”

Mortensen took a leave of absence from his job in 2016 to undergo treatment for Stage 4 throat cancer. That same year, he broke the news that Peyton Manning would retire.

Before joining ESPN in 1991, Mortensen worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the short-lived sports publication The National.

He received a George Polk Award in 1987 and was given the Dick McCann Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

“An absolutely devastating day,” ESPN reporter Adam Schefter wrote Sunday on social media. “Mort was one of the greatest reporters in sports history, and an even better man. Sincerest condolences to his family, and all who knew and loved him. So many did. Mort was the very best. He will be forever missed and remembered.”

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