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Chris Mortensen: A Pioneer NFL Reporter Died At 72

Chris Mortensen was an American journalist regarded as a pioneer of working year-round news reporting National Football League (NFL) news. 

He is best known for his work at the cable television network ESPN, where he frequently contributed to the network’s award-winning football shows, such as NFL GameDay NFL Countdown and the network’s Outside the Lines series. He was also a frequent contributor to the network SportsCenterESPN Radio, and ESPN.com.

Early Life and Career

  • Chris Mortensen was born November 7, 1951 in Torrance, California.
  • He attended North Torrance High School in Torrance, California, and El Camino College before serving two years in the Army during the Vietnam War.
  • He started his journalism career once he realized that he no longer could compete in football, basketball, and baseball beyond high school.
  • He received 18 awards in journalism. In 1978, he won the National Headliner Award for Investigative Reporting in all categories

Who was Chris Mortensen?

  • Chris Mortensen was a longtime NFL reporter who covered the NFL for ESPN for more than three decades, from 1991 to 2023.
  • He was known for his extraordinary skill and passion for reporting and his industry-pioneering and universally beloved personality.
  • He received the Pro Football Writers of America’s Dick McCann Award in 2016 for his reporting.

What cancer did Chris Mortensen have?

  • Chris Mortensen died on Sunday morning, March 3, 2024, at 72.
  • He had battled esophageal cancer for years, which he announced in early 2016.
  • He retired last April after covering his 33rd NFL draft to focus on his health, family, and faith.

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    How is he remembered?

    • Chris Mortensen is widely respected as an industry pioneer and universally beloved as a supportive, hard-working teammate.
    • Colleagues and fans will truly miss him; their hearts and thoughts are with his loved ones.
    • His son, Alex Mortensen, is a football coach and former professional quarterback who carries on his legacy.

    ESPN Career

    • Mortensen first appeared on ESPN in 1991.
    • He soon gained recognition as a pioneer of “insider” reporting of the NFL, working professional football as a year-round “beat” and breaking news stories as they happened.
    • During his career, Mortensen reported for the network’s Emmy Award-winning programs NFL GameDay, NFL Countdown, and the network’s Outside the Lines series.
    • He worked as an analyst for ESPN’s coverage of the NFL Draft.
    • Mortensen left the network in April 2023 following the 2023 NFL Draft due to health problems related to throat cancer.

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    Legacy and Tributes

    • Mortensen announced in 2016 that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer.
    • Even while undergoing treatment, he was the first to confirm the retirement of Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.
    • “We lost a true legend,” Manning said in a social media post. “Mort was the best in the business, and I cherished our friendship. I trusted him with my announcement to sign with the Broncos and the news of my retirement. I will miss him dearly; my thoughts and prayers are with Micki & his family. Rest in peace, Mort. “.
    • ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro said: “Mort was widely respected as an industry pioneer and universally beloved as a supportive, hardworking teammate. He covered the NFL with extraordinary skill and passion and was at the top of his field for decades. Colleagues and fans will truly miss him, and our hearts and thoughts are with his loved ones.”
    • NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said: “I admired how hard Chris worked to become one of the most influential and revered reporters in sports. He earned our respect and that of many others with his relentless pursuit of news and the kindness he extended to everyone he met.

    This article helps you learn more about Chris Mortensen’s life and career. He was a remarkable journalist who inspired many people with his passion, skill, and kindness for football and journalism. Rest in peace, Chris Mortensen.

    Yoda

    Blame Drew’s Cancer is an inspiring initiative led by Drew Olanoff, a young Californian who was diagnosed with Stage III Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Drew took a unique approach to fighting his cancer by harnessing the viral power of the internet. In 2009, he launched a website called blamedrewscancer.com, where people could blame anything they wanted on Drew’s cancer. The idea was to turn negative energy into positive action.

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