ESPN’s Mortensen going off air for cancer treatments

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Chris Mortensen of ESPN comments during Class of 2008 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremonies at Fawcett Stadium on August 2, 2008 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

BRISTOL – ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen will be off the air as he begins treatments for throat cancer, according to the sports network.

“More than a week ago, I was diagnosed with a Stage IV throat cancer,” Mortensen said in a statement released Friday. “My focus shifted significantly to gathering information about the specifics of this cancer. The initial diagnosis was confirmed Friday and there is another test remaining that will determine the best possible treatment plan that will commence in the very immediate future.

Mortensen joined ESPN in 1991 after a career at several newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he was an investigative reporter and covered the Braves and Falcons and the NFL. He won the George Polk Award for reporting in 1987.

“Our thoughts are with Chris and his family as he faces this challenge,” Skipper said in the statement. “He is an extremely respected colleague, who has the complete support of his entire ESPN family. We wish him strength and hope in the battle ahead and look forward to his return whenever he chooses.”