Well-respected NFL reporter John Clayton passed away Friday at 67 years old after battling a brief illness. The entire NFL is mourning the tragic loss of Clayton, lovingly nicknamed “The Professor.” Clayton became one of the first NFL insiders for ESPN in 1995 and quickly became an iconic media member throughout the league.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement on Clayton’s passing Saturday morning.
Statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the passing of John Clayton: https://t.co/xUOiO7MUFe pic.twitter.com/YQ8jhxT05K
— NFL345 (@NFL345) March 19, 2022
Goodell said that the beloved NFL insider earned his “tremendous respect and admiration as a journalist but more importantly as a wonderful person.”
ESPN also honored its longtime employee with a tribute tweet late Friday night.
John Clayton, one of our NFL insiders who expertly covered the league for more than 20 years at ESPN, died Friday at 67 after a brief illness.
We all learned something from "The Professor" over the years and we will miss him dearly. pic.twitter.com/bfiPCPUYZo
— ESPN (@espn) March 19, 2022
Before his iconic career with the major media outlet, Clayton covered the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. He was a beat reporter for The Pittsburgh Press and Tacoma News Tribune. Both teams released statements honoring Clayton.
The Seahawks franchise expressed its “heartbroken” reaction to his passing and sent its deepest condolences to his wife Pat and their family.
Rest In Peace, The Professor. pic.twitter.com/xFGdTYstnT
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) March 19, 2022
The Steelers also expressed condolences to Pat. The release named Clayton “one of the most respected NFL national reporters,” a popular opinion within the media.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 19, 2022
Clayton most recently hosted his own sports radio talk show on Seattle Sports 710 AM. The station tweeted the news of his passing and expressed condolences to his friends and family.
It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of @JohnClaytonNFL’s passing. His legendary, Hall of Fame career will forever have a lasting legacy on football fans across the world.
Our condolences to his wife Pat, and to his friends and family. We will miss you, John. pic.twitter.com/Ik8QYukA8d
— Seattle Sports (@SeattleSports) March 19, 2022
In his honor, the radio station held a tribute show from 8-11 a.m. on Saturday, Clayton’s weekly airtime. Weekday host Bob Stelton hosted the show with multiple guests including Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.