NFL Analyst Chris Mortensen Dead At 72

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/AAF/Getty Images)

Andrew Powell Sports and Entertainment Blogger
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Legendary NFL analyst Chris Mortensen has died, according to a Sunday announcement from ESPN. He was 72 years old. The former pundit for ESPN retired in September 2023 prior to the beginning of the NFL season.

“Mort was widely respected as an industry pioneer and universally beloved as a supportive, hard-working teammate. He covered the NFL with extraordinary skill and passion, and was at the top of his field for decades. He will truly be missed by colleagues and fans, and our hearts and thoughts are with his loved ones,” said ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro in a social media post.

Mortensen’s journalism career started in 1969, covering news, investigations and sports before ultimately joining ESPN in 1991. That same year, he authored a book, “Playing for Keeps: How One Man Kept the Mob from Sinking Its Hooks into Pro Football.”

Mortensen had to take a leave of absence from ESPN in 2016 after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer. That would eventually lead him to retirement in September 2023.

The media legend was born in Torrance, California in 1951, getting his journalism start with the Daily Breeze. He went on to work for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which took him to ESPN in 1991. (RELATED: NFL Legend Andy Russell Dead At 82)

After Mortensen married his wife, Micki, they had their son, Alex, who would later become the quarterback for the Arkansas Razorbacks prior to joining the NFL as a member of the Tennessee Titans. Alex is currently the offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, working for head coach Trent Dilfer.