ESPN NFL reporter Chris Mortensen dead at 72

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Chris Mortensen, the legendary ESPN NFL reporter, died Sunday morning, the community introduced. He was 72. 

“Mort was extensively revered as an business pioneer and universally beloved as a supportive, hard-working teammate,” ESPN Chair Jimmy Pitaro stated in a press release. “He lined the NFL with extraordinary talent and keenness, and was on the prime of his discipline for many years. He’ll really be missed by colleagues and followers, and our hearts and ideas are together with his family members.”

Mortensen stepped away from his longtime position with ESPN after the 2023 NFL Draft, saying that he wanted to prioritize his well being and household. 

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, proper, is proven on the ESPN set with Chris Mortensen at FedEx Area in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2006. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty Photos)

“Enthusiastic about one other season but it surely’s time to disclose after my thirty third NFL draft in April, I decided to step away from ESPN and deal with my well being, household and religion,” Mortensen tweeted in September 2023.

On Jan. 15, 2016, Mortensen revealed by way of an ESPN assertion that he was recognized with Stage 4 throat most cancers, which led to a depart of absence.

NFL REPORTER CHRIS MORTENSEN STEPS AWAY FROM ESPN AFTER MORE THAN 3 DECADES, CITES HEALTH AND FAMILY

Lauded because the worldwide chief’s unique NFL insider, Mortensen spent nearly all of his journalism profession at ESPN, becoming a member of their ranks in 1991 when he reported for “NFL GameDay,” which finally turned as we speak’s “Sunday NFL Countdown.” He was additionally featured on “Outdoors The Traces” and served as an analyst for the NFL Draft.

Mortensen’s journalism profession started on the Every day Breeze in Torrance, California, his hometown. He finally moved on to the Atlanta Journal-Structure, the place he lined a number of sports activities with MLB’s Atlanta Braves (1983-1985) in addition to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons (1985-1986). He finally lined the NFL as a complete, beginning in 1987, the place he earned the George Polk Award for his work.

Mortensen then joined The Nationwide, the place he lined the league for 2 years earlier than making the leap to ESPN. 

The veteran reporter was infamously recognized to be the one who broke the information of the New England Patriots’ “Deflategate” controversy, initially reporting that 11 of the 12 footballs used in the course of the crew’s AFC Championship Sport matchup in 2015 towards the Indianapolis Colts had been below 2 kilos per sq. inch, which is the NFL’s regulation.

Chris Mortensen talks into microphone

Chris Mortensen is proven in the course of the Monday Night time Soccer sport between the Inexperienced Bay Packers and Seahawks in Seattle on Nov. 27, 2006. (Kirby Lee/NFLPhotoLibrary)

The Wells Report would later discover that solely one of many 22 readings made within the investigation of the Patriots discovered the Patriots’ footballs to be below 2 kilos per sq. inch. Mortensen’s report was debunked, but ESPN left it up with none retraction or clarification.

Mortensen deleted his publish on Twitter months later, although he continued to face by his report. 

Mortensen’s loss shocked many within the NFL world, together with his colleague at ESPN, Mike Greenberg. 

“Chris Mortensen was one of many kindest, most beneficiant gents you might ever come throughout, in any discipline,” Greenberg tweeted. “His professionalism and decency earned him common admiration – his enthusiasm and good nature made him everybody’s buddy. His mark on the enterprise will final a very long time, his influence on these of us fortunate sufficient to know him effectively will final the remainder of our lives. Relaxation in peace, Mort. We’ll treasure your reminiscence endlessly.”

Fellow ESPN colleague Mike Tannenbaum additionally shared his condolences.

Chris Mortensen looks on field

Chris Mortensen (Kevin C. Cox/AAF/Getty Photos/File)

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“I’m completely devastated to listen to concerning the passing of Chris Mortensen,” he posted on X. “Whereas he was a titan and a pioneer in our occupation, he was additionally the kindest and most beneficiant particular person to me. He was a mentor to some many people at ESPN. He might be missed, however his legacy of kindness and giving will stay with us. Relaxation in peace my buddy.”

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