ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is on hiatus from the network to undergo treatment for throat cancer, but he still broke the news of Peyton Manning’s retirement early Sunday morning. Mortensen appeared on ESPN’s NFL Insiders Monday afternoon following Manning’s retirement press conference to discuss Manning’s retirement, and also provided a positive update on his battle with cancer while indicating he still has a long road ahead. Here’s the clip:
Suzy Kolber asked “If we’re going to compare your fight here to a football game, can you give us an idea of what quarter we’re in and what the score is?”
Mortensen responded “Oh, wow, well, based on what the doctors told me, you can tell my voice is good, so the tumor and mass is shrinking, but I think I’m late in the second quarter, probably a little bit before halftime. I haven’t hit halftime yet. My ringtone is set to ‘Long Walk Home,’ but I’m going to get there.”
Mortensen has done plenty of impressive reporting over the years (albeit with some controversies, including Deflategate), and he’s been well-known for his tenacity and his connections; Manning even joked about Mortensen during his press conference, saying his daughter’s questions made him think Mort and fellow ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter were using her as a source:
Speculation had swirled for months that this would be Manning’s last season, and he said it extended even to his own family.
“(Before the Super Bowl) my daughter Mosely asked me, ‘Daddy is this the last game.’ ‘Yes, Mosely, this is the last game,'” Manning said. “Then she asked, ‘Daddy, is this the last game ever?’ And that’s just when I shook my head in amazement because I was thinking Mort and Adam Schefter had gotten to my 5-year-old daughter to cultivate a new source.”
It’s remarkable for Mortensen to be able to break this story while taking time off for cancer treatment, and he deserves the plaudits he’s received for that. It’s good to hear that his treatment’s going well, too. Here’s wishing him all the best with what still lies ahead.