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.”
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.