Terez Paylor, a Yahoo Sports senior NFL writer, and a loving partner, brother, son, grandson and friend, died unexpectedly on Tuesday. He was 37.
“While we are shocked and saddened by Terez Paylor’s sudden passing, we also celebrate his extraordinary life that touched so many,” Ebony Reed, his longtime girlfriend and fiancée, said in a statement. “Terez was an exceptional journalist whose passion for football made him a respected voice. His legacy will leave an enduring impact on sports journalism, the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs, and their fans.
“More important, Terez was a devoted son, grandson, brother, an adoring fiancé, and a wonderful friend to so many. To know him was to love him. He will be dearly missed.”
Terez came to Yahoo Sports after 12 years at the Kansas City Star, the last five spent covering the Chiefs. He charmed fans and colleagues with his passion for football, and with the twinkling smile that so often washed over his face. He brought “juice” as a podcast host and on-air personality, and an eagerness to learn to his day-to-day work.
Terez was born and raised in Detroit. He matriculated at Howard University. He arrived at the Star shortly after graduating, and rose from high school and Arena Football beats all the way to the NFL. He built relationships with Chiefs staffers and players. At Yahoo Sports, he covered the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory in 50 years.
And he did it all with vigor and earnestness.
“He wanted to be great,” his former colleague Sam Mellinger wrote for the Star. “He was honest about what that would require. He attacked it with uncommon energy and focus.”
“Hearing the news of Terez’s passing is heart wrenching,” the Chiefs communications team said in a statement. “He was so young and full of life, he always wanted to do right by people.”
— Chiefs Communications (@ChiefsPR) February 9, 2021
Terez broke news. He devoured film. He brought the game to fans with a unique voice. He helped fellow writers along the way.
“I can't imagine anyone not liking Terez,” said Yahoo Sports NFL writer Frank Schwab. “He was one of the most easy-going people I've ever met. He was the coolest guy in the room even without saying a word. As a coworker, what always stood out is that any compliment you had for him, he'd deflect and would be praising you before you realized what was happening. He was selfless that way. He was a great guy and it's hard to believe he's gone.”
"We are heartbroken to learn that our friend and teammate Terez Paylor has passed away,” Yahoo Sports editor-in-chief Johnny Ludden said in a statement. “Terez was a dogged, thoughtful reporter to many who knew him in the NFL. To us, he was a friend who always had a warm smile and a kind word. He cared deeply about his family, was passionate about his work and remained intensely proud of his Detroit and Kansas City roots. Our sympathy is with Terez’s family and everyone who knew and cared about him."
As news of Terez’s passing spread on Tuesday, remembrances poured in from colleagues, from friends, from NFL players, from teams, and from so many others.
Can’t express how sad today has been at Yahoo Sports. Terez was incredible - talented, driven, dedicated. Serious. Soulful. Grateful. So much respect for him and his journey. Just 37, about to be engaged, world in front of him. Lucky to call him a friend. Thinking of his family. pic.twitter.com/VQFEzeBfpo
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) February 9, 2021
Watching Terez live out his dream has been one of the greatest privileges I’ve had as an editor. He was our “football dork” and we loved and valued him for that + much more. As much as he connected with his coworkers, the bond was just as strong with readers. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. https://t.co/IHUYVWUVry
— Al Toby (@AlTobyYahoo) February 9, 2021
For my friend. I love you Terez pic.twitter.com/V4Lkm6AKDN
— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) February 9, 2021
Man, this sucks. Terez was an awesome guy. He was genuine, enthusiastic, and always wished us the best. He also asked good questions to learn more about the game. He was constantly striving for knowledge, especially about OL play and the intricacies within. So sad to hear this. https://t.co/ciDtxI4tlk
— Mitchell Schwartz (@MitchSchwartz71) February 9, 2021
Damn. He was one of the best out there and a wonderful man. https://t.co/C1po5JmKrE
— Mayor Q (@QuintonLucasKC) February 9, 2021
We join the NFL family in mourning the sudden loss of Terez Paylor. A Detroit native, Terez frequently made it a point to visit Allen Park for Lions training camp. The positive impact of his life will leave a lasting impression on everyone who knew him. pic.twitter.com/CEkRuLn86k
Heartbreaking news to hear of the passing of Terez Paylor. From our entire Bills family, we want to pass along condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. Terez was a pleasure to work with and we will miss him.
— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) February 9, 2021
Terez was one of the biggest recruiters of me coming to Yahoo. Both Detroit kids, trying to make it. He made his mark, was always curious and always cool.
Just a good dude. I’ve said that too many times recently
— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) February 9, 2021
another heartbreaking loss, and this one so close to home. if you listened to Terez and Charles on their podcast, you not only heard Terez’s deep love for and knowledge of the game but also his awesome laugh.
make sure your people know you love them. https://t.co/no319Z2wra
— shalise manza young (@shalisemyoung) February 9, 2021
Just a crushing day. Terez was as genuine and passionate a co-worker as I’ve ever had. Prayers with Ebony and his family. We’re all completely devastated. https://t.co/cQzCQpZD90
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) February 9, 2021
The Hall of Fame Family extends thoughts and prayers to the family of Terez Paylor, a respected member of our Selection Committee. pic.twitter.com/UiXu7weihU
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) February 10, 2021
A statement from the Pro Football Writers of America about our friend and colleague Terez Paylor. pic.twitter.com/W8GHJJaJAx
— Pro Football Writers (@PFWAwriters) February 10, 2021
For happy Terez, this head shot from Yahoo is hard to beat. When a man's mug looks this happy, he is loving life. And Terez loved life. pic.twitter.com/tshkRo1TUH
— Jeff Rosen (@jeff_rosen88) February 10, 2021
To know Terez professionally was to be influenced by his work ethic and passion.
To know Terez personally was to be surrounded by joy and laughter. It felt impossible — impossible — to be in a bad mood when you were in his presence.
You'll be so missed, my friend. https://t.co/rmuakkKHQY
— Sam McDowell (@SamMcDowell11) February 9, 2021
— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) February 10, 2021
Such a pro, so conscientious. To be great at anything, you’ve got to have a passion for it. Terez’s passion for the game and for his writing showed daily.
So sad for his fiancé. Sad as well for a generation of readers who won’t see 25 years of Terez’s great work.
— Peter King (@peter_king) February 9, 2021
Wait a minute...this is just not f’ing right. What’s going on!!! Listen. Terez Paylor was my guy. Respected him to the fullest. 100%. He was real, talented, intelligent, genuine...I loved talking ball with the man. This is just devastating in every way. My condolences. I’m numb. pic.twitter.com/91SisU0NuF
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) February 9, 2021
Another terrible, unspeakable loss. Terez was so talented, and all of us who knew him were so proud to see him grow at Yahoo into one of the best football writers, reporters and podcasters around.
He was a great, kind person. God, he had the best laugh. We'll all miss him. https://t.co/80mUReOvTD
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 9, 2021
Terez was a mentor to almost every young Black person writing about football I know. He was always around & always listening to what our generation produced. I talked to him before the season and he said he “couldn’t be happier.” Hug ya folks & tell them you love them. RIP unc 🖤 https://t.co/iuisiAGM9k
— Tyler R. Tynes (@TylerRickyTynes) February 9, 2021
When I heard the news today, I just broke down. Terez was such a wonderful guy. We always appreciated the passion each other had about football and our places in it. Every time I saw him and we got to chat, my day was brighter. He's going to be so missed. https://t.co/8cZc95rIms
— Robert Mays (@robertmays) February 9, 2021
Terez is one of the finest people I have ever met. I have never met somebody that had so much integrity, so much passion for the sport of football and so full of life. He was dedicated to be the best at his craft and was well on his way https://t.co/cKNFHdBMFQ
— Jay Binkley (@3guysinagarage) February 9, 2021
When Danny left, Terez told me he had an offer from the competitor and he was thinking about taking it so I told him to give me a few days. I convinced management of Terez's value and he told me he'd always be on 610 as long as I was still there.
— Carrington Harrison (@cdotharrison) February 10, 2021
What we should take away from Terez's life is how important it is to love what you do and have a passion so strong that others see. it. Terez really loved football and really loved people. He was a great person. I'm glad I got to know him so well.
— Carrington Harrison (@cdotharrison) February 10, 2021