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Longtime NFL insider and former Seahawks reporter John Clayton has passed away

Annual NFL League Meeting Photo by B51/Mark Brown/Getty Images

Some sad and unexpected news has rocked the Seattle sports community and NFL journalism.

John Clayton, longtime Seattle Seahawks and NFL insider, passed away on Friday at a Seattle-area hospital following a brief illness. He was only 67 years old.

Clayton began his career covering his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers, before moving across the country to work as the Seattle Seahawks’ beat reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune from 1986 to 1998. He was hired by ESPN in 1995 and worked for the network as one of its preeminent NFL insiders for more than 20 years. Of course we cannot lose sight of the fact that Clayton was the star of the greatest “This is SportsCenter” commercial ever.

After his national run with ESPN came to an end, Clayton joined Seattle Seahawks radio broadcasts as a sideline reporter in the 2017 season, a position he maintained up until his death. Clayton was also a fixture on Seattle sports radio for both 950 KJR and more recently 710 Seattle Sports, where he hosted The John Clayton Weekends on Saturdays.

Clayton is not just a Seattle sports radio icon but he was a legend in the sports journalism industry. He’s part of the unofficial “writer’s wing” of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a recipient of what is now known as The Bill Nunn Memorial Award. Just a sampling of the tributes from those both locally and nationally will tell you how much he meant to the careers of so many.

Both the Seahawks and Steelers released statements on the passing of John.

Rest in peace, John Clayton. Condolences to his wife Pat and the Clayton family as they mourn the loss of the man affectionately known to everyone as ‘The Professor.’