Chris Mortensen of ESPN at Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field in Seattle, Wash. on November 27, 2006. (Photo by Kirby Lee/NFLPhotoLibrary)

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.

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.

Obviously, Mortensen’s colleagues at ESPN were happy to see him back on the job breaking news.

Former colleagues took notice, as well.

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.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.

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