ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen will be off the air as he begins treatments for throat cancer.
"More than a week ago, I was diagnosed with a Stage IV throat cancer," Mortensen said in a statement 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.
"Consequently, with the support and encouragement from ESPN president John Skipper and many others at ESPN, I am temporarily stepping away from my normal NFL coverage duties to better engage this opportunity to fight the good fight that is projected to affect almost 1.7 million Americans with new cases in 2016.
"I have many inspirational examples of men, women and children who have faced this very fight. 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 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. "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."