Longtime ESPN NFL Reporter Chris Mortensen Dies At 72
ESPN announcer Chris Mortensen with Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora during an Aug. 4 practice at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.
Al Messerschmidt / Getty Images

Longtime ESPN NFL reporter Chris Mortensen passed away over the weekend. He was 72 years old.

Mortenson joined ESPN in 1991 and was featured on many of the network’s NFL shows and its flagship show “SportsCenter.”

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

Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning responded to the news of Mortensen’s passing by calling him a “true legend.”

“We lost a true legend. Mort was the best in the business and I cherished our friendship,” Manning said. “I trusted him with my announcement to sign with the Broncos and with the news of my retirement. I will miss him dearly and my thoughts and prayers are with Micki & his family. Rest in peace, Mort.”

ESPN Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter responded to the news of Mortensen’s passing in a post on X: “An absolutely devastating day. 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.”

Mortensen was diagnosed with Stage 4 Throat Cancer in 2016 but later returned to the network for several more years before announcing last September that he was retiring.

“Excited about another season but it’s time to reveal after my 33rd NFL draft in April, I made a decision to step away from ESPN and focus on my health, family and faith,” he posted on X. “The gratitude and humility is overwhelming. It’s not a classic retirement. I’ll still be here talking ball.
It’s just time. God Bless you all.”

Mortensen was outspoken about his Christian faith.

This report has been updated to include additional information. 

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