Longtime NFL Writer Don Banks Dies at Age 57

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2019

A bag of NFL footballs at the ready on the San Francisco sidelines before the start of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. The Panthers won 46-27.  (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Bob Leverone/Associated Press

Don Banks, who covered the NFL for Sports Illustrated and The Athletic, died Sunday morning at 57, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Ed Graney.

Graney reported Banks attended the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday. Paramedics were called to his hotel room in North Canton on Sunday morning and pronounced him dead.

Banks had just begun working for the Review-Journal.

"Words can't express the depth of sadness the Review-Journal staff feels for Don's family and friends," Glenn Cook, the paper's executive editor, said. "Beyond a sportswriting institution, Don was a dedicated husband and father and a class act. No NFL journalist commanded more respect. The sport has lost one of its finest storytellers."

A number of Banks' colleagues spoke about their interactions with him:

Chris Burke @ChrisBurkeNFL

From the moment I started at Sports Illustrated, at every big NFL event we both attended, Don Banks made sure we did dinner and drinks, and then introduced me to as many people as he could so I could build relationships. I’m honored to call him a friend. Rest in peace, Don.

Jenny Vrentas @JennyVrentas

When The MMQB began, Don Banks wrote a regular column called “The Conscience.” He was that both in his job and beyond. He was kind, encouraging and wise; one of the very best people you could be honored to know. https://t.co/PntoYUZxMd

Jeff McLane @Jeff_McLane

Don Banks was a rarity among NFL writers. Someone everyone liked. He was an excellent beat reporter, especially in Tampa, and graduated to league-wide coverage. He would often nail the tone of how to cover a big story. He was also a good friend. I will miss him. https://t.co/FC9nJkHS1c

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

I’m sick. Just saw Don on Friday in Berea. First question he asked was how @sarapelissero is doing. We talked about his wife’s job search, the move next year and his excitement to tell all the stories in Vegas. He always offered support for my career. Prayers with his family. https://t.co/ASEMWZWDt5

Ben Volin @BenVolin

I admired @DonBanks so much for the way he handled his exit from Sports Illustrated. He didn't feel sorry for himself -- just busted his ass, continued to write his column with the same expertise and professinoalsim, and finally landed a dream job at the Las Vegas-Review Journal

The Review-Journal posted Banks' first piece Saturday following his move to the paper. He had written about the Cleveland Browns' experiences on HBO's Hard Knocks, with the series following the Oakland Raiders ahead of the 2019 season.