ESPN’s Chris Mortensen was honored Oct. 29 with the National Football League Players Association’s Georgetown Lombardi Award in recognition of his contributions to pro football and his courageous battle against cancer.
Ten members of ESPN’s NFL team – producers as well as on-air co-workers Chris Berman, Merril Hoge, Suzy Kolber and Adam Schefter – surprised Mortensen by flying to Washington, D.C., to attend the 30th Anniversary Lombardi Gala where the award-winning ESPN journalist was recognized.
“I’m really at a loss for words to say what it meant for us to be with Mort and how much we’ve missed him,” said Seth Markman, senior coordinating producer for ESPN’s NFL studio shows. “He didn’t know we were going to be there and to see his face when we all arrived, it was special.”
Schefter also discussed the NFLPA event on yesterday’s Sunday NFL Countdown (video above).
Diagnosed in January with Stage IV throat cancer, Mortensen continues his recovery, though he has appeared on NFL Insiders the past five Fridays since announcing some encouraging news about his health.
Markman added: “The last time I saw Mort was in August at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was hard to see him then, but he’s been able to put weight back on and he looks great.”
It’s everyone’s hope that Mortensen will be back to work at ESPN later this fall for an NFL Sunday.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Ringer posted an extensive profile of Mortensen last week, highlighting his Hall of Fame journalism career.