NFL

Who Was ESPN’s Vaughn McClure?

The Atlanta Falcons and the rest of the NFL world were dealt a tough blow Thursday when it was announced Vaughn McClure was found dead at his Atlanta apartment this week. He was 48 years old. McClure was a reporter for ESPN who covered the Falcons.

Vaughn McClure was with ESPN since 2013

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Vaughn McClure joined ESPN’s NFL coverage team in 2013, taking the Atlanta Falcons beat. McClure had extensive experience in covering the NFL as previously covered the Chicago Bears for The Chicago Tribune for six years prior to joining ESPN. A Chicago native, McClure graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1994.

McClure also worked for The Chicago Sun-Times, Fresno Bee, South Bend Tribune, and DeKalb Daily Chronicle. ESPN announced Thursday that McClure died at his home this week in Atlanta. A cause of death has not been announced.

“We all loved Vaughn,” said John Pluym, senior deputy editor for digital NFL coverage at ESPN. “He had a heart of gold. He was so helpful to our reporters. In the last few hours, we’ve heard so many stories about how Vaughn had helped them with a story or how he put in a good word for them with a coach or player.”

The Atlanta Falcons react to Vaughn McClure’s death

The Atlanta Falcons issued a statement regarding the unexpected death of their beat reporter Vaughn McClure. “We are saddened to learn of the passing of ESPN’s Vaughn McClure,” the Falcons said in a statement. “He was an earnest, thoughtful reporter who had a passion for his craft and the relationships he held. He will be missed dearly and we are holding his family, friends and associates in our thoughts and prayers.”

Harry Douglas, a 10-year NFL veteran who played seven years for the Falcons, was hit hard by the news of McClure’s death. In a Twitter post, Douglas wrote, “Shedding a tear & saddened from hearing about the passing of my friend @vxmcclure23 ..The last year & a half we became closer and constantly talked about FOOTBALL, the MEDIA life, & even broke down FILM..He was so dedicated to his craft & willing to learn more about the game.”

Douglas, a former wide receiver turned analyst, said he was always in contact with McClure. “I just don’t understand, we talked almost every week,” he wrote on Twitter. “This one hurts a lot.”

McClure’s death shocked the sports world

Not only was Vaughn McClure a talented reporter, he was a quality person. That became evident by the numerous posts on social media regarding his sudden death. “Today I was very saddened to hear about the passing of my dear friend Vaughn McClure,” former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher posted on Twitter. ‘We became fast friends when he was covering the Bears. He had a big heart and was one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. You will be missed. RIP HOMIE.”

Jeff Dickerson, a colleague of McClure’s at ESPN, offered his condolences via Twitter. “Vaughn McClure was a close friend for 15 years,” Dickerson wrote. “We spoke on the phone every week. To say that everyone close to Vaughn is devastated would be an understatement. Vaughn was an amazing friend and colleague. He was always there for my family during difficult times. A true friend.”

ESPN’s Chris Mortenson said McClure’s father was McClure’s best friend. His dad passed away earlier this year. “I believe Vaughn is in the company of Jesus and in a joyful reunion with his father, who succumbed earlier this year,” Mortenson posted on Twitter. “Please look at pinned tweet of @vxmcclure23. His Dad was his best friend and his timeline always reflected that love. His Dad was rightfully proud of his son.”