John Clayton, longtime NFL and former ESPN reporter, dies at 67

Veteran NFL reporter John Clayton died Friday afternoon after a brief illness, the Seattle Seahawks announced. He was 67.

Clayton is best known for his time as an NFL insider for ESPN, where he was hired in 1995. He became one of the network’s lead NFL reporters and hosted a weekly radio show with former NFL quarterback Sean Salisbury. Clayton left ESPN in 2017.

Most recently, Clayton spent the last five seasons as a sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks Radio Network and hosted the “John Clayton Weekend” show on Seattle Sports 710, according to the Seahawks.

“The Seahawks are heartbroken to learn of the passing of John Clayton after a battle with a brief illness at 67,” the team said in a statement. “We send our deepest condolences to Pat and the Clayton family.”

Prior to joining ESPN, Clayton covered the Steelers for The Pittsburgh Press and the Seahawks for The New Tribune in Tacoma, Washington.

In 2007, Clayton received the Bill Nunn Memorial Award from the Pro Football Writers of America, which is bestowed annually and recognizes “long and distinguished reporting on professional football.” With the honor, Clayton was inducted into the writers’ wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Known as “The Professor” for his glasses and persona, Clayton developed a reputation as a beloved member of the NFL media. Tributes poured in on social media when news of his death broke Friday night.

Clayton is survived by his wife, Patricia.

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