Don Banks, a longtime NFL writer perhaps best known for his aptly named “The Conscience” for Sports Illustrated’s “Monday Morning Quarterback,” died Sunday morning in Canton, Ohio, his wife confirmed to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
He was 57.
He died in his sleep overnight Saturday into Sunday at his hotel after attending Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, his wife, Alissa, said.
Banks, who served as Sporting News’ Vikings correspondent during his time at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, had only recently been hired by the Review-Journal to cover the Raiders and NFL.
“I have written obits for two brothers and two beloved dogs. It’s always painful. But this … this was particularly cruel,” longtime MMQB lead columnist Peter King wrote Monday on ProFootballTalk.com, noting that Banks, who was laid off by Sports Illustrated in 2016, “had been looking for the next opportunity since,” while continuing to write his popular “Snap Judgments” column for different sites.
In remembrance of Don Banks, an NFL conscience and a true friend.
— Peter King (@peter_king) August 5, 2019
Banks’ debut column for the Review-Journal appeared Sunday.
“It was typical of his work: reporting and insight you couldn’t get anywhere else,” former colleague Jenny Vrentas wrote on SI.com, before adding of the remembrances being offered Monday, “The respect you hear for Banks … is for not just how well he did his job, but for who he was while doing it.”
In that sense, tributes to Banks were uniform and spot on: As good and insightful as he was as an NFL writer over most of a 36-year sportswriting career, he was an even better person.
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
— Jenny Vrentas (@JennyVrentas) August 4, 2019
“He was re-energized and so invigorated by the opportunity to work (for the Review-Journal),” Alissa Banks said. “He couldn’t wait to get started. It was the happiest I have seen him in quite some time.
“He was supposed to arrive home in Boston on Sunday morning. … He went very peacefully.”
In addition to his wife, Banks is survived by two sons Matt, 28, and Micah, 21, from a previous marriage.