An absolute legend is calling it a career.
Chris Mortensen, who is the original NFL insider for ESPN, has announced his retirement. It actually took place back in April in secret, but the icon decided go public on Tuesday.
“Excited about another season but it’s time to reveal after my 33rd NFL draft in April, I made a decision to step away from ESPN and focus on my health, family and faith,” tweeted Mortensen. “The gratitude and humility is overwhelming. It’s not a classic retirement. I’ll still be here talking ball. It’s just time. God Bless you all.”
Turning 72 in November, Mortensen joined ESPN in 1991 and has since then been one of the four-letter network’s primary NFL insiders. He was forced to leave in 2016 due to his battle with throat cancer, but came back after a successful treatment.
Excited about another season but it’s time to reveal after my 33rd NFL draft in April, I made a decision to step away from ESPN and focus on my health, family and faith.
The gratitude and humility is overwhelming.
It’s not a classic retirement. I’ll still be here talking ball.…
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) September 5, 2023
Praise rained down on Mortensen in response:
Congratulations to one of the best to ever do it. A remarkable reporter and an even better friend to so many along the way. An insider with great information who always made covering football fun.
Go enjoy all the joys in life Chris, you deserve it all. https://t.co/sSDsYp4vQo
— Dianna Russini (@DMRussini) September 5, 2023
When I was young and just starting out at ESPN a quarter of a century ago, Mort, who was the King at the time, always treated me with respect and as a peer that left an impression on me I haven’t forgotten. https://t.co/2Tyc4D04dg
— BucciOT.Com (@Buccigross) September 5, 2023
A Legendary Run By Mort Report, the Ultimate Insider.
One of the True Pioneers in Sports TV. https://t.co/A0pHOHoyWL
— Michael McCarthy (@MMcCarthyREV) September 5, 2023
There has been no greater honor than to work with, and learn from, a man on ESPN’s Mount Rushmore. He has been an exemplary husband, father, friend and co-worker. He paved the way in this industry. He is a legend. Thank you for all you did for ESPN and so many, Mort. Love you.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 5, 2023
All will miss your presence, your humor and your incredibly detailed reporting. Few will miss you more than I will for your advice, wisdom and friendship. Nobody has meant more to me than you, @mortreport.
God bless you and Micki and Alex. See you on the golf course in May. https://t.co/pXqVcYnLeQ
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) September 5, 2023
After being hired, the very first congratulatory phone call that I received came from Mort. Something that I’ll never forget. You’re a living legend and icon of the sports industry, my friend.
Enjoy the well deserved time with the family and loved ones. All the best! https://t.co/XLc4eP4qSe
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) September 5, 2023
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) September 5, 2023
Congratulations on one hell of a career, Mort! Enjoy retirement! You deserve it!