Don Banks, a longtime NFL writer who worked at Sports Illustrated for 16 years, has died after covering the Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions in Canton, Ohio. He was 56.
Paramedics on Sunday were called to his hotel, where he was pronounced dead. No cause was given.
Banks covered pro for more than three decades. He recently was hired by the Las Vegas Review-Journal to oversee coverage of the Raiders, who are moving to Las Vegas next year. His first story for the newspaper was published Sunday, hours before his death.
“Banks was an NFL lifer,” his former boss at Sports Illustrated, Peter King, wrote in tribute. “At SI, his ‘Snap Judgments’ column on Sunday evenings became appointment reading for NFL fans.”
Banks also worked for Bleacher Report, the New England Patriots website and The Athletic. He was a longtime voter for The Associated Press NFL individual awards and All-Pro team. Review-Journal executive editor Glenn Cook called Banks a “sports writing institution.”
“No NFL journalist commanded more respect,” he said. “The sport has lost one of its finest storytellers.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick expressed condolences on behalf of the organization. He described Banks as “very professional, very passionate.”
“I just had a lot of respect for the way he did his job,” he said at a news conference.
Banks is survived by his wife, Alissa, and sons Matt and Micah from a previous marriage.
His newspaper said funeral arrangements are pending.
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