Legendary football reporter John Clayton dies at 67

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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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