Chris Mortensen: A Giant in NFL Journalism, Gone But Never Forgotten

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The sports world mourns the loss of Chris Mortensen, the iconic ESPN NFL reporter, who passed away Sunday morning at the age of 72. 

Mortensen’s death was confirmed by the network, leaving colleagues, fans, and the entire sports community in grief.

ESPN Chair Jimmy Pitaro paid tribute to Mortensen, describing him as an industry pioneer and a cherished teammate known for his dedication and passion. “He covered the NFL with extraordinary skill and passion, and was at the top of his field for decades,” Pitaro stated. “He will truly be missed by colleagues and fans, and our hearts and thoughts are with his loved ones.”

Mortensen’s illustrious career spanned decades, during which he became renowned as the original NFL insider at ESPN. He joined the network in 1991 and played a pivotal role in shaping its NFL coverage, contributing to programs such as “Sunday NFL Countdown” and “Outside The Lines. His insightful analysis and comprehensive reporting earned him widespread respect and admiration.

Despite his professional success, Mortensen faced personal challenges, including a battle with Stage 4 throat cancer, which he revealed in 2016. In September 2023, after his 33rd NFL draft coverage, he announced his decision to step away from ESPN to prioritize his health, family, and faith.

Chris Mortensen’s Journalism Journey

chris-mortensen-a-giant-in-nfl-journalism-gone-but-never-forgotten
The sports world mourns the loss of Chris Mortensen, the iconic ESPN NFL reporter, who passed away Sunday morning at the age of 72.

Chris Mortensen’s impact extended beyond ESPN, as he began his journalism career in his hometown of Torrance, California, before covering various sports, including the NFL and MLB. His work garnered accolades, including the prestigious George Polk Award.

Notably, Mortensen broke significant stories throughout his career, including the infamous Deflategate controversy involving the New England Patriots. Despite subsequent developments, Mortensen’s professionalism and integrity remained steadfast.

Colleagues and friends, including ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Tannenbaum, expressed their heartfelt condolences, highlighting Mortensen’s kindness, generosity, and lasting legacy in the sports industry.

Chris Mortensen’s passing leaves a void in sports journalism, but his contributions and influence will endure as a testament to his remarkable career and enduring impact on the lives he touched.

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