John Clayton Wiki – Biography
John Clayton, one of the most prominent national NFL reporters who worked at ESPN for over 20 years, died on Friday.
“His wife Pat and sister Amy were at his side and communicated earlier he passed peacefully after a brief illness,” his longtime ESPN colleague Chris Mortensen tweeted. “We loved John. We are mourning his loss. Pat has asked the Seahawks to release further information.”
He was 67 years old.
ESPN NFL Reporter Died
John Clayton, whose list of contacts in the NFL was matched only by his attention to detail and dedication to his craft, died Friday in Washington after a brief illness, his family said
Clayton, nicknamed “The Professor,” was one of the country’s foremost NFL insiders in a five-decade career that included over 20 years with ESPN. Clayton’s pursuit of news and information was done with such enthusiasm that, as ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said, “Anyone paying attention walked away from a little more educated.”
“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 The Athletic’s Mike Sando, a longtime friend of Clayton’s.
“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 began his career at the Pittsburgh Press covering the Steelers before moving to Seattle to cover the Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune in the mid-1980s. He reached ESPN in 1995 and covered football in print, TV, and radio until 2017.
Some of Clayton’s most memorable segments on ESPN television were his regular debates with former NFL quarterback Sean Salisbury. They had entertaining chemistry in the nerd vs. jock genre.
Clayton also appeared in what is arguably the greatest “This is SportsCenter” commercial of all-time, transitioning from standard football reporter to long-haired metalhead in an instant as his consummate professionalism was praised.
After departing the Mothership, Clayton continued to cover the Seahawks for ESPN Radio’s Seattle affiliate. He was publishing stories as recently as last week.