ESPN Falcons Reporter Vaughn McClure Dead at 48

Vaughn McClure, an Atlanta Falcons reporter for ESPN, died at his home in Atlanta this week, ESPN announced. He was 48 years old. He joined ESPN in 2013 after spending time covering the Chicago Bears for the Chicago Tribune.

"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." Falcons president Rich McKay released a statement on McClure as soon as the team learned the news. He said McClure was a "thoughtful reporter" and will be "missed dearly."

"Talking to Vaughn on the phone was always a joy. I loved how you could just sense the excitement in his voice for being able to cover the Falcons for ESPN," Pluym added. "We will all miss him greatly. And I'll end this the way Vaughn ended every phone call with a colleague: 'Appreciate you. Love you.' We all loved him, too."

McClure would be one of the reporters who followed the Falcons on a daily basis. He would provide updates on the team via Twitter, ESPN's official site and spots on shows such as SportsCenter and NFL Live. Many of ESPN colleagues paid tribute to him on Twitter as well as NFL reporters all over the country. His last tweet was on Oct. 13, and he reported that Falcons rookie defensive lineman Marlon Davidson tested positive for COVID-19.

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"What I respected most was how committed he was to continually improving," Patricia Mays, senior director of content strategy and distribution at ESPN, said when talking about what stood out with McClure. One of the last emails I received from him was asking for feedback. He wrote: 'Would love to talk to you after the season about how I can get better at a lot of things. I want to be great at this job.'"

McClure is a Chicago native who graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1994. He also covered the Chicago Bulls for the Tribune as well as Norte Dame football for the Chicago-Sun Times and Fresno State basketball for the Fresno Bee.