NFL Community Mourns Longtime ESPN Reporter Chris Mortensen, Who Passed Away At The Age Of 72

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For anyone who grew up loving ESPN’s SportsCenter and insider scoops about the NFL, it’s really tough to hear that Chris Mortensen is no longer with us. Never mind the countless colleagues he built deep relationships with, and the many in sports media he didn’t even know personally who were inspired by the standard he set.

Mortensen, at 72 years old, passed away on Sunday, as was revealed in an announcement by ESPN:

Mortensen’s epic career at ESPN began in 1991, preceded by stints at The National and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He won many journalism awards before those stops as well. Additionally, Mortensen is an Army veteran, having served for two years in the Vietnam War.

After Mortensen was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2016, he lived for another eight years and was inspirational to so many in that regard, too, for his courageous fight. Pretty incredible share here from NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero:

Mortensen played no small part in the explosion of the NFL’s popularity. A pivotal personality in the earlier days of ESPN, he was the preeminent inside scoop reporter who’d break news all the time. Before social media and the relentless 24/7 news cycle that dominates sports media and really all news nowadays, it was Mortensen who everyone turned to.

All kinds of tributes to Mort are pouring in from across the larger NFL community. Here’s a statement from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell:

At the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday, the news of Mortensen’s death came in live to Rich Eisen and Daniel Jeremiah. They did an admirable job informing everyone in an emotional exchange, wherein Jeremiah talked about how pivotal of a mentor Mort was to him, and many others in the NFL media space.

On the late-night edition of SportsCenter, Scott Van Pelt shared a touching segment to honor Mort, which featured heavy contributions from Adam Schefter:

In many ways, Mort paved the way for the role Schefter has now. He posted another lengthy video that really did justice to Mortensen’s legacy, along with a throwback to when Mort was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

NFL Network’s hit show Good Morning Football took time to go around the table when they kicked off on Monday to share memories of their interactions with Mortensen:

There are so many more people posting about Mort from both last night and early this morning that I’ll end the article with. It really speaks to the impact he had in football and beyond. This really does hit hard. Rest In Peace, Chris Mortensen.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock