Raiders GM shares sweet story about Chris Mortensen ahead of NFL Draft

Apr 24, 2024, 8:45 AM | Updated: 8:46 am

Analyst Chris Mortensen watches action prior to an Alliance of American Football game between the B...

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA - FEBRUARY 16: Analyst Chris Mortensen watches action prior to an Alliance of American Football game between the Birmingham Iron and the Salt Lake Stallions at Legion Field on February 16, 2019 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/AAF/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/AAF/Getty Images)

The NFL Draft is a big time for players, coaches, general managers and teams. It’s a time when relationships are built not just between players and teams, but between all those people and the media, too.

But one person who many trusted will be especially missed this year, Chris Mortensen. The ESPN NFL reporter died earlier this year at the age of 72. He had been a regular contributor since he joined the network in 1991.

“This is a time of year where myself and a lot of us, even some of you, would always talk to Chris Mortensen,” Las Vegas Raiders General Manager Tom Telesco ahead of his pre-draft press conference. “And I was just thinking back and in 2013 when I became a GM, Bill Polian had told me, you’re going to have a lot of insiders reach out to you. He said, you can trust Mort. And if you guys know Bill, Bill had a love-hate relationship with the media, like he just loved to hate them. So, when he said that about Mort, that kind of resonated with me and it was something that I saw pretty quickly what he meant.”

Telesco went on to praise the award-winning journalist for not just his reporting, but his compassion, too. Last December, when the Los Angeles Chargers fired Telesco after 10 seasons as their general manager, Mort reached out to him to let him know things would work out.

“It wasn’t like we texted back and forth very often, maybe once or twice a year really. He sent me a text just kind of, ‘Hey, I was thinking about you and your family, really respected what you did with the Chargers. Bright things are in your future.’ Being the insider, maybe he knew this was going to happen, who knows. But it was just really cool. That was on Christmas Eve of all things,” Telesco said.

And things did eventually work out, when the Raiders hired Telesco as their new general manager. Pairing him with new coach Antonio Pierce.

“So, really, I should’ve been reaching out to him with what he was going through. Guys like him, and two years ago John Clayton passed away. These guys are like titans in this industry, especially around draft time, that we always kind of reached out to and got great information but they never shared too much. But like I said, I was thinking about those guys this weekend as we get into this. There’s just so much coverage of the draft, rightfully so. It’s such a big thing, but those two guys are titans in this industry.”

Key offseason dates for the Raiders

  • April 25-27 – 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit
  • May 20-21, May 23, May 28-29, May 31, June 3-6 –OTAs
  • June 4-6  Mandatory Minicamp

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Raiders GM shares sweet story about Chris Mortensen ahead of NFL Draft