John “The Professor” Clayton has been sent to the showers after a 23-year run at ESPN, SportingNews.com reports, the latest casualty of sweeping layoffs at the sports-centric cabler.
This April, in the wake of ESPN losing 12 million subscribers over the past five years, the network launched a series of layoffs eventually totaling nearly 100, including on-air talent Jerome Bettis, Sara Walsh, Chad Ford, Jay Crawford and Ed Werder.
Clayton confirmed his exit via Twitter, saying, “After 23 years I won’t be contributing to ESPN. Two words. Thank you. My bosses and co-workers are the best…. I can honestly say that my relationship with ESPN was the second best in my life. My marriage to my wife Pat is obviously No. 1.”
He added, “I am well taken care of by ESPN,” noting that he can still be heard on his daily radio show in Seattle. Also: “I am keeping the ponytail.”
Clayton started his sportswriting career covering the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 1972 training camp for The Daily Press in St. Marys, Pa. Following stints at The Pittsburgh Press and Tacoma’s News Tribune, in 1995 he joined ESPN as a reporter; most recently he served as a senior NFL writer and commentator for the network.
In 2007, Clayton was inducted into the writers’ wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.