Everything looked so easy for Bob Brown when he was on the football field. An Eagles' first-round draft pick in 1964, Brown made the transition from guard at the University of Nebraska to tackle in the NFL and never skipped a beat.
If anything, the move just highlighted how dominating a player Brown was at the game's highest level. In his 10 NFL seasons, Brown was named an All-NFL player in seven of those years. He played with the Eagles from 1964-69 and then finished his career with the Los Angeles Rams (1969-70) and the Oakland Raiders (1971-73). A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2004), Brown – a three-time Pro Bowl player in Philadelphia – was inducted into the Eagles' Hall of Fame in 2004.
Brown passed away on Friday night in Oakland, California at the age of 81, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on Saturday. Brown died at a rehabilitation center surrounded by family and friends after suffering a stroke in April.
"He was a dominating player," Hall of Fame writer Ray Didinger said of Brown. "There was nothing he couldn't do with his combination of size, strength, and superior ability. He had the mentality that he wanted to take everything away from a defensive player and that's exactly what he did."
Said Hall of Fame President Jim Porter: "Bob Brown demonstrated different personalities on and off the field. On the field, he was as fierce an opponent as any defensive linemen or linebacker ever faced. He used every tactic and technique – and sometimes brute force – to crush the will of the person across the line from him. And took great pride in doing so. Yet off the field, he demonstrated a quiet, soft-spoken, and caring nature that his son, Robert Jr., captured eloquently when he presented his dad for enshrinement in 2004. The Hall extends its thoughts and prayers to CeeCee (Brown's wife) and Robert Jr. (his son) for their loss."
Brown was an All-Pro player in each of his five Eagles seasons and he was named a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1960s. Three times Brown was named the NFL/NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year.
"If you line up all of the great offensive tackles in NFL history," Didinger said, "Bob Brown would be right at the top of the list. He was that good – a complete player who dominated on every snap. He just beat people up and he took great joy in doing so."
Brown's approach was simple: He wasn't going to lose, no matter what.
"I beat on people from the opening kickoff," Brown once said. "I want to see results in the fourth quarter. I don't want them to have as much left. I want them to not be sure they want to keep coming. I try to take a toll on them."
Brown did just that, winning every snap on the way to becoming one of the all-time NFL great offensive linemen.