Clayton continued to cover the Seahawks for ESPN Radio’s Seattle affiliate after departing his main duties at the network. He was publishing stories as recently as last week.
John Clayton, who covered the National Football League for ESPN for more than 20 years, died Friday after a brief illness. He was 67.
“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.”
Known as “The Professor,” Clayton first began covering sports at the Pittsburgh Press before moving to Seattle to cover the Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. By 1995, he was at ESPN in 1995, where he covered football in print, TV and on radio until 2017.
As a broadcaster, Clayton was teamed with former NFL quarterback Sean Salisbury, whose friendly and contentious debates had a special chemistry.
Clayton also was the subject of a memorable “This Is SportsCenter” commercial for EPSN, in which he’s described by a colleague as “the consummate pro.” Cut to him talking about wrapping a segment on the air; when it ends, Clayton is revealed to be wearing a fake suit jacket covering a Slayer T-shirt. He cranks up the tunes, hops on his bed in a poster-filled room, grabs some leftover Chinese food and yells, “Hey Mom, I’m done with my segment!”
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