Longtime NFL reporter John Clayton, 67, has passed away, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham announced Friday night.
“He was one of those colleagues who was not only always eager to help you, but went above and beyond to help. He took his work seriously, with all his files and spreadsheets, but not himself,” Wickersham tweets. “RIP to a gentleman and Hall of Famer.”
In 1976, Clayton began his career as a Pittsburgh Steelers reporter at the Pittsburgh Press. Later, Clayton became known as one of the most connected sportswriters in the Seattle area. Clayton worked at ESPN from 1995 to 2017, covering the NFL in various roles.
Clayton was a fan-favorite among viewers and responsible for some of the best “This Is SportsCenter” commercials. We all loved this one:
John Clayton, a first-class NFL insider and our beloved longtime ESPN colleague, died today.
He also starred in the greatest This Is SportsCenter commercial of all time.
— Don Van Natta Jr. (@DVNJr) March 19, 2022
No, he didn’t really have a ponytail. But if any reporter could have pulled it off, it would have been John Clayton.
Thoughts and prayers go out to Clayton’s family. He will be missed:
To the professor. The architect of the greatest SportsCentrer commercial ever. Heaven just gained an insider for the ages https://t.co/hjZbvkUeRx
— trey wingo (@wingoz) March 19, 2022
Amazing seeing how much everyone in sports media loved and admired John Clayton. A legend and Hall of Famer who was always very kind to me. Encyclopedic knowledge of the sport
— Danny Kelly (@DannyBKelly) March 19, 2022
John Clayton is a legend and we were lucky enough to have him in Seattle for the longest time. Rock on, king pic.twitter.com/QPfbwgNRF3
— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) March 19, 2022
I’m heartbroken to hear the news of my dear friend John Clayton’s passing. He was so kind and gracious with his time I will forever be grateful. I pray 🙏🏼 for peace that surpasses understanding for his wife Patricia and his friends and family. RIP pic.twitter.com/9iWw6RmQl2
— Mark Schlereth (@markschlereth) March 19, 2022
Always enjoyed at Super Bowls being able to catch up with my @ESPNRadio colleagues I didn’t get to see often. Heartbroken to hear of the passing of John Clayton. @SeanUnfiltered and John always made me smile. What a respected and kind man. The world will miss you Professor! pic.twitter.com/qbLU6tsEGA
— John Kincade (@JohnKincade) March 19, 2022
So sad to hear about the passing of John Clayton. I grew up learning about football from John as a fan and it was a thrill to be on his radio show. What a nice man. RIP to a legend.
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) March 19, 2022