Veteran NFL reporter John Clayton, known to many football fans as "The Professor," died Friday following a brief illness. He was 67.
The Seattle Seahawks announced the news of his passing on Twitter.
Rest In Peace, The Professor. pic.twitter.com/xFGdTYstnT
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) March 19, 2022
ESPN reported that Clayton's career covering the NFL spanned almost five decades, beginning in 1972 covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a teen.
In a statement released on Twitter, the Steelers called Clayton "a Pittsburgh media icon." He also became "one of the most respected national NFL reporters."
He spent 23 years working for The Pittsburgh Press covering the Steelers and the Tacoma News Tribune covering the Seahawks.
In 1995, he began working with ESPN as an NFL Insider and stayed with the company for 20 years.
One of his most notable segments with the sports network included him and NFL analyst, Sean Salisbury, debating back and forth on a weekly segment called "Four Downs."
I am heartbroken. John was family to me. The very best TV partner. I’ve often said John would be the guy who would stop everything he was doing, to make sure anyone would have everything they needed. A loyal life friend to me. A phenomenal man. Our friendship was special. 🙏❤️ https://t.co/QbBsi9bg4j
— Sean Salisbury (@SeanUnfiltered) March 19, 2022
Another memorable moment during his ESPN career was a "This Is Sportscenter" commercial he did where he appeared on SportsCenter wearing a coat and tie, and then tears it off to reveal him wearing a Slayer t-shirt, and letting down his long hair, jumping on his bed, and shouting, "Hey, ma. I'm done with my segment," ESPN reported.
He worked for the Seahawks as a sideline reporter on radio broadcasts and hosting The John Clayton Weekends for the past five seasons.
In 2007, he received the Bill Nunn Memorial Award, which is presented annually by the Pro Football Writers of America for his "long and distinguished reporting in the field of pro football," the Seahawks wrote.