Football Twitter pays tribute to late John Clayton: 'A giant in his field'

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The football world was rocked by the unexpected news of the death of veteran NFL reporter John Clayton on Friday night.

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"The Professor," as he was nicknamed, was beloved among generations of fans, players and journalists for his professionalism, intelligence, sensitivity and sense of humor.

The Pittsburgh native began his career covering his hometown Steelers, and was later a fixture on ESPN, where he became a household name to a legion of sports fans during the network's explosive growth during the 1990s.

In addition to his decorated career as a reporter, Clayton carved out a place in pop culture history with an all-time great commercial for SportsCenter, in which he played himself as a ponytailed, bedroom-dwelling heavy metal enthusiast who was still living with his mother.

Clayton was a trending topic on social media on Friday night and into Saturday morning, with countless users weighing in with touching tributes and remembrances dedicated to The Professor:

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Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today