Friday March 18th, 2022 ended up being one of those days. The kind of day that you will remember for the rest of your life. For a lot of us in Seattle, whether in media or not, we will always remember where we were when we found out that John Clayton had passed away.
I was at Meridian Valley Golf Club when his nephew Mike Haack, who is the Food and Beverage manager at MVCC, pulled me aside and gave me the news with tears in his eyes that his Uncle John was gone.
Immediately, I thought about the gigantic hole that he was leaving behind. As a friend, a husband, an elite NFL reporter and really, an icon of sports reporting not just in Seattle but the country. The John Clayton that you know is a person that ended up being the gold standard for NFL media. The person that I know is a guy who embraced me as an equal back in 1994 as an intern for KJR when frankly, I had no right to be even remotely considered to be worthy of his time. But he gave it to me. And he asked for mine. He asked for my opinion. He asked for my input. He made me feel like the most important person in his life in those moments.
Even after he left for another radio station, he continued to be there for me. Responding to texts about NFL questions. Letting me complain about our mutual friend Mike Holmgren not yet being elected to the Hall of Fame. Sharing his thoughts on trades or free agent signings the Seahawks had made. My contract with KJR. His job situation with ESPN. Whatever.
His love for his wife, his love for his job and his love for his friends was obvious to everyone. He'll be a role model for all of us both in our professional lives and in private forever. He'll be missed every day.
Rest in Peace Professor. Love, everyone you ever met... because everyone loved you back
-Dave "Softy" Mahler