The NFL-loving world is collectively mourning the loss of one of the best reporters that had covered professional football for more than 20 years. John Clayton has sadly passed away at the age of 67, due to a brief illness. Clayton began his career as a reporter for the Pittsburgh Press before moving to cover the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. He would move to ESPN in 1995, where he covered football in print, television, and on the radio until 2017. He would then remain a reporter for the Seahawks via the ESPN Radio’s Seattle affiliate. His long-time colleague and friend, Chris Mortensen, released the news of his death on Twitter. You can see the announcement below:
The Seattle Seahawks posted their own touching tribute to John Clayton, who was also known as “The Professor.” That name indicated his long-standing dedication to the game of football, as well as his brilliant mind when it came to covering all subject matter of the NFL. Though he was a fantastic reporter, he was a dedicated sports analyst for the Seattle Seahawks. Clayton spent most of his career covering the Steelers and Seahawks before ESPN turned him into an NFL Insider. ESPN is the home of one of the longest-running sports shows known as SportsCenter. SportsCenter began in 1979 and became ESPN’s first program. Throughout the years, the program has often produced hilarious commercials involving mascots, sports figures, analysts, and more. Clayton was involved in arguably the most hilarious. You can see the commercial below:
While his ESPN colleague, Neil Everett, is commenting on John Clayton being a “consummate pro” Clayton is shown in his bedroom with a camera and blue ESPN screen. He then rips off a tearaway half a suit and shows a Slayer shirt and long hair that has been fashioned into a ponytail. He then lays down, cranks the tunes, and yells at his mom, “Mom, I’ve finished my segment!” The fact that he lives at home and is reporting on ESPN is hilarious on its own. Even more so the long ponytail and heavy metal aspects just drive home the jokes even further. For a man that was truly regarded as a brilliant mind within the NFL organization, it is fantastic that he knows how to laugh at himself. Much respect to this man.
As previously stated, John Clayton began his career as a beat reporter for the Pittsburgh Steelers as part of the Pittsburgh Press and Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune before moving to ESPN. He also hosted a radio show on Seattle Sports 710, called The John Clayton Weekends. He was often regarded as a brilliant mind that understood the game of football at its deepest level. His NFL Insider moments on ESPN were often some of the best on the channel due to his tireless efforts to put forth the best researched and thorough content. Due to his efforts, Clayton was awarded the Dick McCann Award in 2007. This was the highest honor given by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA). Rest in peace and thank you for your contributions, Mr. Clayton.