The Tragic Death Of ESPN NFL Reporter John Clayton

The world of sports broadcasting is mourning the loss of one of their own. ESPN NFL reporter John Clayton died at age 67 on March 18 after a brief illness, according to ESPN. His death was announced by longtime ESPN colleague Chris Morenson on Twitter. "John Clayton passed away today at a Seattle area hospital. His wife Pat and sister Amy were at his side and communicated earlier he passed peacefully after a brief illness," he wrote. "We loved John. We are mourning his loss."

Known as "The Professor," Clayton spent over two decades covering the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, and the NFL — first as a beat reporter before getting hired at ESPN in 1995. In recent years, Clayton took on the role of sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks Radio Network, according to a tribute from the organization.

As fans and friends continue to mourn Clayton, let's take a look back at his storied career and the impact he made on sports broadcasting and the people around him.

John Clayton spent his entire career in sports

John Clayton was born in Braddock, Pennsylvania on May 11, 1954, according to ESPN. He began his career in sports broadcasting covering the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1972 before he attended Duquesne University. After graduation, Clayton was hired by The Pittsburgh Press, where he worked until 1986, per The Seattle Times. He then spent nearly 10 years covering the Seattle Seahawks before joining ESPN in 1995 and he was eventually let go in 2017.

In 2007, Clayton was awarded the Dick McCann Award by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which recognizes "long distinguished reporting in the field of pro football.” At the time, Clayton said he was "thrilled" to receive the award. "The McCann Award is the highest honor any writer covering this sport can receive," he said in a statement, according to ESPN. "After two decades of having the fortune of voting on Hall of Famers as a member of the Board of Selectors, I'm flattered in receiving such an honor."

Clayton's work ethic has been praised by many, including former NFL quarterback Sean Salisbury, who partnered with him on broadcasts. Salisbury expressed his condolences on Twitter, writing, "I am heartbroken. John was family to me. The very best TV partner." He went on to say that Clayton would always be there for him if he needed help. "A loyal life friend to me. A phenomenal man," he added. Clayton is survived by his wife Pat and sister Amy. Our thoughts are with them at this time.