John Clayton Dies at 67: John Clayton, longtime NFL reporter and radio host, dies at 67

John Clayton, whose list of contacts in the NFL was matched only by his attention to detail and dedication to his craft, died Friday in Washington after a brief illness, his family said, He was 67

Clayton, nicknamed "The Professor," was one of the country's foremost NFL insiders in a five-decade career that included over 20 years with ESPN

Clayton's pursuit of news and information was done with such fervor that, as ESPN's Chris Mortensen said, "Anyone paying attention walked away a little more educated.

Long before he became an ESPN icon, John might have been the best news-breaking team beat reporter of his generation, the type who could sit on a story for months and then break it before others had any clue what was going on

Said The Athletic's Mike Sando, a longtime friend of Clayton's. "He was that good. On a personal level, John was incredibly generous to me when I succeeded him as the Seahawks beat reporter at the Tacoma News Tribune many years ago. I owe so much to John and will miss him terribly

Clayton, a native of Braddock, Pennsylvania, began his career in 1972 as a teenager covering the Pittsburgh Steelers in a season that included the "Immaculate Reception

He continued his work up until just 10 days ago, when he broke down the Seattle Seahawks' blockbuster trade of Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos for Seattle Sports 710 AM, where he was a regular contributor

We will all miss your words and brilliance @JohnClaytonNFL #RIPJohnClayton," Wilson wrote in a tweet, as he and former colleagues and friends of Clayton took to social media Friday night to offer remembrances

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