After being diagnosed with throat cancer back in January, Chris Mortensen has been off the air from ESPN. He did break the Peyton Manning retirement news back in March, and was monitoring the NFL Draft, but for the most part has been focusing on treatment – until now.
In a statement issued through ESPN, Mortensen said that his cancer has “been virtually reduced to zero detection”.
“I received very encouraging news last week from my oncologist team of doctors at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center that now enables me to completely focus on recovery rather than treatment. The Stage IV throat (oropharyngel) cancer that was diagnosed in early January and treated with intensive chemotherapy and radiation has been virtually reduced to zero detection of the disease through the latest scans and exams.
“I do have scheduled exams and scans during the next three months to monitor my status but my oncologists have directed me to recover and rehab from the treatments that have resulted in lengthy hospitalization, significant weight loss, strength, endurance and related health issues. I am following instructions to overcome these challenges.
“My return-to-work status has variables with no definitive target date but I anticipate being able to participate in NFL coverage on a limited basis as the 2016 season gets underway.
“My wife Micki and I want to express our deepest gratitude and humility from the outpouring of love we have received from family, friends, colleagues, the NFL community and beyond, as well as ESPN’s unwavering support. Our hope remains rooted in our deep faith in God and we continue to be grateful to our caring team at M.D. Anderson and my local personal physicians.
“We also want to encourage everyone to support various cancer causes such as the V Foundation – we can testify that these specific organizations are justifiably necessary and righteous to families who encounter this insidious disease.”
That is tremendous news. And the fact that he plans to return to work albeit on a limited basis is very encouraging. In the interim, Adam Schefter will work solo on Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown until Mort is ready to return.
ESPN senior NFL coordinating producer Seth Markman said that he’s looking forward to having Mort back on the ESPN set:
“It has been a long and difficult road for Mort since he was diagnosed, so hearing his positive news is very encouraging. As we have said all along, when Mort is able to return, his chair on our set will be waiting. He is a beloved member of our ESPN team and we have really missed him these past few months.”
It’s not known when exactly Mortensen will return, but it will be great to see him back when he gets the all clear from his doctors.