Legendary football reporter John Clayton dies at 67


John Clayton, Hall of Fame broadcaster and legendary NFL insider, has died at 67.

Nicknamed “The Professor,” Clayton established himself as one of the country’s top football reporters over a more than 50-year career, 20 of which were spent with ESPN. 

“Long before he became an ESPN icon, John might have been the best news-breaking team beat reporter of his generation, the type who could sit on a story for months and then break it before others had any clue what was going on,” said Mike Sando of The Athletic, a longtime friend of Clayton’s, in an obituary on ESPN. “He was that good. On a personal level, John was incredibly generous to me when I succeeded him as the Seahawks beat reporter at the Tacoma News Tribune many years ago. I owe so much to John and will miss him terribly.”

Clayton’s career began in 1972 when he covered the Steelers as a teenager, and he continued to cover the team for more than a decade. He then spent more than 10 years covering the Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune before joining ESPN in 1995.

With ESPN, Clayton was a jack-of-all-trades NFL insider and reporter. He made regular appearances on SportsCenter and NFL Live in addition to other ESPN programming.

One of his most memorable moments came in a more humorous format, though, when he starred in a hilarious “This is SportsCenter” commercial spot that remains iconic to this day.


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