Colton Pouncy selected as PFWA 2024 Terez A. Paylor Emerging Writer Award winner

Colton Pouncy, the Detroit Lions beat writer for The Athletic, has been selected as the 2024 Terez A. Paylor Emerging Writer Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).

Colton Pouncy

Pouncy, the fourth Paylor Award winner, has covered the Lions for The Athletic since 2022. He is the third person affiliated with The Athletic to receive the Paylor Award.

The Paylor Award recognizes a young NFL writer who carries on the legacy of Paylor through his or her work ethic, professionalism, and dedication to the craft and commitment to improving diversity in NFL media. Paylor, the former Yahoo! Sports and Kansas City Star football writer, passed away in February 2021 at the age of 37. He joined the Star after graduating from Howard University in 2006 and took over the Kansas City Chiefs beat in 2013. Paylor spent the next seven-plus years covering the NFL and joined Yahoo! Sports in 2018 as a senior writer to cover the league on a national level.

A Chicago native and a 2017 graduate of Missouri, Pouncy worked for the Columbia Missourian student newspaper covering University of Missouri sports, and he was one of two beat writers from the paper to cover Mizzou’s 2016 football season. After graduation, Pouncy was one of 12 journalism students across the country selected for the Sports Journalism Institute’s Class of 2017, and he moved to Nashville to be a sports intern at The Tennessean that summer. Upon the completion of his internship, Pouncy’s first full-time journalism position came as the Austin Peay beat writer at the Leaf Chronicle in Clarksville, Tennessee from August 2017 to May 2018, while also serving as a general assignment sportswriter at The Tennessean during that time. Both papers are part of Gannett’s USA Today Network.

Pouncy joined The Athletic in June 2018 as the Michigan State football beat writer. He covered the Spartans for four years, and he moved to the Lions beat in July 2022. In addition to his daily written coverage of the Lions, he also co-hosts a podcast, “One of These Years”, about the Lions with Chris Burke and Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic.

The other 2024 finalists for the Paylor Award were Ben Arthur (Fox Sports), DJ Bien-Aime (, Katherine Fitzgerald (Buffalo News), Daniel Oyefusi (Miami Herald) and Kris Rhim (

“Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell did a bit of foreshadowing when he pointed to a young scribe seated in the front row of his training camp news conference in July 2022 and said, ‘I’m not going to forget you, Colton.’ Since then, it has become impossible to consume Lions content and not be impressed by Colton’s commitment to storytelling, his connection with Detroit’s passionate fan base and his creative approach to chronicling the way Campbell has orchestrated the franchise’s rebuild,” said Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic. “Colton is more than deserving of the Paylor Award, and he has undoubtedly demonstrated a work ethic that suggests this will be among the many honors he receives as he continues his journalism career.”

TEREZ A. PAYLOR EMERGING WRITER AWARD WINNER (Young NFL writer who carries on the legacy of Paylor through his or her work ethic, professionalism, and dedication to the craft and commitment to improving diversity in NFL media): 2021 – Jourdan Rodrigue (The Athletic); 2022 – Jori Epstein (USA Today); 2023 – Tashan Reed (The Athletic); 2024 – Colton Pouncy (The Athletic)

ABOUT THE PFWA: In its 61st season in 2024, the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public. The PFWA is made up of accredited writers who cover the NFL and the 32 teams daily. Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News is the PFWA president for the 2023-24 seasons and the organization’s 31st president. Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post is the PFWA’s first vice-president, Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic is the second vice-president, Lindsay Jones of The Ringer is the advisor to the president and Mike Sando of The Athletic is the secretary-treasurer. At-large board members include Mike Jones of The Athletic,’s Jeff Legwold, Joe Reedy of the Associated Press and’s Charean Williams. Follow the PFWA at and on Twitter/X at @PFWAwriters.

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