Feb 6, 2010; Hollywood, FL, USA; Chris Mortensen emcees the Super Bowl Breakfast at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Well on his way to a legendary journalistic career, Chris Mortensen, a future Hall of Fame-caliber reporter in many eyes, was surprisingly offered a job by an NFL team.

While media members transitioning to teams isn’t unheard of, the intrigue lay in Mortensen’s potential access. Of course, the access from teams around the league he had as an NFL insider and reporter almost certainly would’ve disappeared had he joined the Jacksonville Jaguars. But you can’t blame an expansion franchise for trying.

And try they did — Mort accepted the job, but only to back out a few days later.

In a piece remembering the late Chris Mortensen, who passed away at 72 earlier this year, The Athletic’s Zak Keefer revealed that in 1994, the expansion Jaguars lured Mortensen away from ESPN. Thirty years ago, Mortensen, whose football acumen was certainly valued at all levels, had accepted the job as the team’s vice president on the personnel side as Jacksonville looked to fill out its first front office.

The Jaguars wanted Mortensen to help build their expansion team. Mort wanted it, too. However, his wife, Micki, did not. According to Keefer, Mortensen had to back out of the job he had accepted only a few days later, and that mainly had to do with his wife’s not wanting to move to Jacksonville.

Mortensen’s influence in the NFL was so vast, his network of contacts so legendary, that the Jaguars once dared — and nearly succeeded — in trying to recruit him away from journalism.

“When you think about it on the surface, the job made no sense,” Pete Prisco, a longtime NFL writer who was then covering the Jags for The Florida Times-Union, tells The Athletic. “They thought because Mort had access to all this information around the league, they could use that. But the reality was nobody was going to tell him anything now that he worked for a team.”

But really, Mortensen was a journalist at heart. And that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have excelled in a front-office role, but he was really, really good at being a reporter and single-handedly helped change how the NFL is covered today.

[The Athletic]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.