Summer 2024

ESPN's Chris Mortensen clings to God as he continues to battle cancer


That was the hashtag many of us current and former ESPN employees used to express our love and support for our friend and colleague Chris Mortensen when he was diagnosed with Stage IV throat cancer in January 2016.

“I have many inspirational examples of men, women and children who have faced this very fight,” Mort said upon being diagnosed. “We all know somebody, right? I also have the love and prayers of my wife Micki, my family, my friends, colleagues and, most of all, my faith that serve as sources of tremendous strength. I have a peace about this and look forward to the battle.”

Mortensen, now 65,  battled throughout the winter and spring of 2016, and made his first public appearance in the summer of 2016, at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where he would receive the Dick McCann Award, bestowed annually by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) “for long and distinguished reporting on professional football.”

After a few different TV appearances, Mort was was back in April 2017, working on the NFL Draft and covering the game he loved.

Once the 2017 NFL season returned, so did Mort. Back in the studio, along with his colleague Adam Schefter, breaking news and analyzing the NFL.

But the cancer treatments continued.

Last November of 2016, Mort told Sports Illustrated that doctors had cleared his throat and tongue of cancer for now, but that there were several new malignant nodules in his left lung. The cancer had spread.

Chris gets an IV regimen every three weeks now and told SI that he is on his 15th treatment. “I’ve asked how long this will go on, and they say maybe forever,” Mortensen told Peter King. “They have to make sure it doesn’t metastasize to anywhere else. Right now, it’s metastasized to my lungs.”

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Mort on a personal level, and I know that his faith in Christ is strong. He told Peter King that without God, he’s not sure he would have been able to make it through this difficult time.

“This is also where my Christian faith served me well,” Mort said. “Because the Bible tells us we will have troubles in this world but we are to cling to the light, the love and promise of God.”

I had the pleasure of working with Chris each Sunday for 8 seasons on ESPN NFL content from 2008-2016. Each Sunday, in what was called “The War Room,” I would have the honor to sit with 30-40 people and watch NFL games all day long. Included among those people in the room was Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, Cris Carter, Keyshawn Johnson, Matthew Berry, Adam Schefter, and of course, in the front row, third to the right, was a spirited Mort.

Join us in praying for Mort and his wife Mikki and their entire family. In Jesus Name!

You can watch the full interview with Mortensen and Peter King below and read the entire article on Sports Illustrated by clicking here