Chris Mortensen didn’t let something like cancer treatment get in the way of breaking one of the NFL’s biggest offseason stories. On Sunday, the ESPN reporter and analyst broke the news that Peyton Manning was going to announce his retirement, and if you note the timestamp on his tweet, he did so before many of us were probably even awake.
Filed to ESPN: Five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning will announce his retirement Monday in Denver per source familiar with the QB's decision
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 6, 2016
More notable is that Mortensen broke this story while undergoing treatment for cancer and taking a hiatus from ESPN. Prior to tweeting out that Manning news, Mortensen hadn’t posted anything to his account since Jan. 17, shortly after news of his cancer diagnosis became public.
That didn’t go unnoticed from several of his peers in the sports media industry, particularly those who could be considered Mortensen’s rivals in the NFL insider business.
Happy for Peyton Manning riding off on his own terms… happier that @mortreport kicked my ass on this story!
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 6, 2016
Mort breaks it. https://t.co/w3IOFIj2g8
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) March 6, 2016
Mort scoopage while on the comeback trail!!! https://t.co/qnc2EvpJhS
— Alex Marvez (@alexmarvez) March 6, 2016
Obviously, Mortensen’s colleagues at ESPN were happy to see him back on the job breaking news.
Mort's The Man.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 6, 2016
Love seeing @mortreport being Mort breaking this news! Congratulations Peyton on a career that increased the position 4 others to follow!
— Brian Dawkins (@BrianDawkins) March 6, 2016
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) March 6, 2016
Delighted to see @mortreport breaking stories again. The best in the business.
— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) March 6, 2016
Former colleagues took notice, as well.
Very cool to wake up this morning to see @mortreport breaking big NFL news on my timeline.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) March 6, 2016
Some have pointed out that Mortensen’s cozy relationship with the Mannings and agent Tom Condon led to him getting this news first. But that’s part of the job, especially for someone who’s been at this for as long as Mortensen has. Those who have worked with and competed against Mortensen for years certainly admired him breaking a story while technically on hiatus.
But this is what Mortensen does and beating everyone to the Manning retirement news demonstrates that he still intends to report on the NFL and get scoops, even under circumstances that would surely have plenty of others opting to let someone else get the story. He’s still in the game. To see the outpouring of acknowledgments and praise had to make him feel even better about that.