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Peter King's Podcast: Chris Mortensen on His 21-Month Battle with Cancer and His Life in Journalism

ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen on his long battle with stage IV throat cancer, the spread of cancer to his lung, the role of faith in his recovery, and on getting death threats over his Deflategate reporting about the Patriots

This episode is a little different. The reason I wanted to do this story is because I feel like so often in our lives we get caught up in what we feel is really, really important. We all have to work and do things that move our lives on. But sometimes, you hear about something and it just makes you stop. It makes you say, wow. Both of my brothers died in the last seven years, both of them very unexpectedly. It's at times like that where you really start to think about yourself, how you live and your contribution to the planet. And this is another one of those stories. When I heard the news two years ago that Mortensen was diagnosed with stage IV throat cancer, I got very emotional about it. I got emotional because I've known Chris Mortensen since the early '80s when I was a young backup beat writer, and over the years I've got to know him very well through NFL reporting. He's a very good human being. When I heard about his cancer, I thought to myself, is this guy going to be like so many people I know, it happened to my father, it happened to both brothers of mine, where you work your whole life and don't get to enjoy retirement? My father died at 64, he was a heavy smoker and he died about nine months into retirement, and he and my mom were going to go do a bunch of things. I just kept thinking to myself, this is so unfair. That's the reason I was so invested in checking in on Mort throughout his treatment and really pulling for him to get through this. We're not supposed to root in this business, but I found myself saying, Come on, Mort, you can do it. I hope you'll enjoy this emotional conversation, and the story that accompanies it. 

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