Oakland Raiders and Owner Mark Davis Respond to Willie Brown's Death

Tuesday afternoon, the NFL world was informed that former Oakland Raiders cornerback Willie Brown had passed away at the age of 78. The Hall of Fame defender had created a legacy based on both his time as a player, as well as his time coaching defensive backs for the Silver and Black. In recognition of his contributions to the team throughout his life, the Raiders released a statement to honor Brown.

"Willie Brown will forever be cherished as a true Raider. He exemplified the Raider spirit, originally entering the AFL as an undrafted free agent out of Grambling State before joining the Silver and Black in 1967. He remained an integral part of the organization through six decades.

"His legendary performance on the field changed the way the cornerback position was played and his valued guidance as a coach, mentor, and administrator permeated the organization and touched countless individuals both on and off the field. Willie's loss will leave a tremendous void, but his leadership and presence will always be a major part of the fabric of the Raiders Family."

As a three-time Super Bowl champion with the team, Brown was someone that defined former owner Al Davis' phrase, "just win, baby." His 75-yard interception return for a touchdown helped seal a victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI, and his coaching helped the defensive backs of the 1980s transform the Silver and Black into a fearsome group.

Despite his considerable success on the field, Brown actually made an impact on current owner Mark Davis due to the way that he treated others. Specifically, he appreciated the way that the defensive back and future coach treated the Davis family when he was off the field.


"It's A Very Sad Day For The Raider Nation As A Whole," Davis said in a statement Tuesday. "And For My Family In Particular... Willie Brown Was One Of The Greatest To Ever Play The Game.. But It Was Off The Field And How He Treated My Mom For Which I Will Forever Be Indebted To Him. Every Road Trip It Was Willie Who Helped My Mom Up And Down The Stairs Of The Plane. It Was Willie Who Joined Her For All Dinners On The Road. It Was Willie Who Came To Her Every Birthday And Mother's Day Dinner. It Was Willie Who Was Her Best Friend. We Loved And Will Miss You Willie…"

(Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)