Legendary NFL Columnist Don Banks Dies At 57, League Pays Tribute

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Don Banks, an NFL columnist formerly of the New England Patriots, died early on Sunday morning before the annual Hall-of-Fame game against the Denver Broncos and the Atlanta Falcons in Canton, Ohio.

Banks was given the opportunity early last July to begin writing for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and was in Ohio to cover the Hall-of-Fame induction ceremonies for individual players in pro football. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, he was found unresponsive in his hotel room and pronounced dead. Alyssa Banks, the writer’s wife, told reporters that he died peacefully in his sleep.

“He was supposed to arrive home in Boston on Sunday morning,” she said, according to Boston.com. “He went very peacefully.”

Banks had spent almost 30 years covering the NFL. He started covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Minnesota Vikings for their local beat reports, and was hired later after that at Sports Illustrated.  He was laid off from Sports Illustrated in 2016 and began writing for NFL.com and the official Patriots website.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said when the news broke that it was “shocking.”

“I’ve had an opportunity to work with [Banks] many, many times,” Belichick said, according to Boston.com. “Very professional, very passionate. I just had a lot of respect for the way he did his job. … We’ll miss him.”


Along with Belichick, other NFL teams relayed their gratitude to their columnist, including former coworkers.

“Words can’t express the depth of sadness the Review-Journal staff feels for Don’s family and friends,” said the exectuive editor at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Glenn Cook according to Boston.com. “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.”

The Banks family has two adult children, Matt and Micah.