Legendary ESPN NFL Reporter Chris Mortensen Passes Away at 72

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Legendary ESPN NFL reporter Chris Mortensen passes away at the age of 72. Jimmy Pitaro, the chair of ESPN, applauded him as a trailblazer in the industry and a valuable team player. 

Mortensen excelled in reporting on the NFL with exceptional skill and enthusiasm, defining himself as a top figure in his industry for many years. He thought to leave his position at ESPN following the 2023 NFL Draft, citing the need to focus on his well-being and family.

Mortensen began his journalism career at the Daily Breeze in Torrance, California, before moving to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There, he said on various sports teams including the MLB’s Atlanta Braves (1983-1985) and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons (1985-1986). 

He went on to report on the NFL in its entirety and was honored with the George Polk Award for his contributions in 1987. Prior to his tenure at ESPN, Mortensen contributed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (1983-1990), where he provided coverage of the Falcons, the Braves, and the NFL. 

Remembering Chris Mortensen

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Legendary ESPN NFL reporter Chris Mortensen passes away at the age of 72. Jimmy Pitaro, the chair of ESPN, applauded him as a trailblazer in the industry and a valuable team player.

His exceptional reporting earned him the prestigious George Polk Award in 1987. He was among the initial writers recruited by editor Frank Deford at the sports daily The National, where he worked from 1989 to 1990 before joining ESPN. 

The Falcons owner, Arthur Blank, shared his appreciation for Chris and viewed him as a personal hero. He expressed his heartfelt feelings to Chris’ family and friends, hoping they can take solace in the honorable legacy and positive impact that Chris has left. 

Mortensen contributed to Sport magazine, wrote a column for The Sporting News, and served as an advisor for “NFL Today” on CBS Sports (1990). Jerry Jones, the owner of the Cowboys, stated that Chris will always be a member of the NFL family and that he would be much missed.

Mortensen received the National Headliner Award for investigative reporting in all categories in 1978 and earned a total of 18 journalism awards. During his career, he received two Pulitzer Prize nominations and wrote the book “Playing for Keeps: How One Man Stopped the Mob from Sinking its Hooks into Pro Football.” Mortensen is survived by his wife, Micki, and son, Alex.

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