Chris Mortensen ESPN NFL Reporter Award-winning Dies at 72

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Written By Vikas Jangid

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Renowned NFL Journalist Chris Mortensen Passes Away at 72

Renowned NFL journalist Chris Mortensen, known for his illustrious career covering the league for ESPN spanning over three decades, has passed away at the age of 72, his family confirmed on Sunday.

Mortensen, whose tenure with ESPN began in 1991, quickly became a staple on the network's NFL programs and "SportsCenter." His keen insight and knack for breaking significant news stories earned him widespread respect within the sports journalism community.


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Notably, Mortensen played a pivotal role in delivering major announcements, such as quarterback Peyton Manning's retirement from professional football in 2016.

Tributes Pour in for a Legend

ESPN's chairman, Jimmy Pitaro, expressed profound sadness over Chris Mortensen's passing, emphasizing his esteemed status as a trailblazer in sports journalism and a cherished colleague.

Pitaro lauded Mortensen's exceptional coverage of the NFL and his enduring impact on the industry. Colleagues and fans alike mourned Mortensen's loss, with ESPN's Adam Schefter hailing him as one of the greatest sports reporters in history, recognizing his remarkable contributions to the field.

A Legacy of Excellence and Dedication

Despite facing health challenges, Chris Mortensen's commitment to journalism remained unwavering. Diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer in 2016, Mortensen made the difficult decision to step back from his role at ESPN to prioritize his health, family, and faith.

Norby Williamson, ESPN's executive editor and head of studio production, credited Chris Mortensen with setting high journalistic standards and elevating ESPN's news coverage, highlighting his professionalism and compassion.

Remembering Mortensen’s Impact Beyond ESPN

Mortensen's influence extended far beyond ESPN, resonating throughout the NFL community and beyond.** NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expressed sadness over his passing, praising Mortensen's dedication, influence, and kindness.

Team owners, including Arthur Blank of the Falcons and Jerry Jones of the Cowboys, remembered Mortensen as a beloved figure within the NFL family, acknowledging his unparalleled passion and talent for the game.

A Career Marked by Achievements and Recognition

Mortensen's illustrious career was punctuated by numerous awards and accolades, underscoring his unparalleled contributions to sports journalism. From his early days at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to his tenure at ESPN and contributions to various sports publications, Mortensen's impact was undeniable.

His investigative prowess earned him prestigious honors such as the George Polk Award in 1987 and the National Headliner Award for investigative reporting in 1978. Mortensen's legacy also includes his authorship of "Playing for Keeps: How One Man Stopped the Mob from Sinking its Hooks into Pro Football," a testament to his multifaceted talents.

Fond Farewell to a Legend

Chris Mortensen's passing marks the end of an era in sports journalism. His indelible mark on the industry, coupled with his unwavering dedication and integrity, leaves behind a legacy that will continue to inspire future generations of journalists.

As the NFL community and fans mourn his loss, Mortensen's memory will forever be cherished, and his contributions to the world of sports journalism will be remembered fondly.

He is survived by his wife, Micki, and son, Alex, leaving behind a family proud of his enduring legacy.

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