Defensive line coach Clarence Brooks, the longest-tenured coach on the Baltimore Ravens staff, died on Saturday morning at age 65.
Brooks was battling esophageal and cancer and died at a hospital in Florida.
A Massachusetts native, Brooks joined the Ravens in 2005 and spent over a decade as defensive line coach. Because of his cancer, he moved into a role as senior defensive assistant this year.
Beloved by his players and peers, perhaps the best mark of Brooks’ excellence is the Ravens’ performance against the run on his watch: the team never finished lower than eighth in yards per rushing attempt allowed.
Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh has called Brooks the best defensive line coach he’s ever been around.
Diagnosed last October, Brooks called the cancer fight the toughest thing he’s ever been through. Brooks started undergoing radiation and chemotherapy at Johns Hopkins three times a week, heading to the team facility after his treatments, though on those days he was usually spent by 6 p.m. and his fellow assistants were pushing him to go home. He was forced into the press box instead of the sideline during games, and missed the first two games of his career late in the season when Baltimore traveled to Arizona and Cleveland for Monday night games because they conflicted with his course of care.
Brooks is survived by Justa, his wife of over 40 years and a cancer survivor herself, their son, Jason, and daughter, Adrienne, and their two grandchildren, Aviana and Avery.
Prior to joining the Ravens, Brooks also coached the defensive lines in Miami, Cleveland and Chicago.
This is the second time this year the Ravens have lost a member of their team: in March, cornerback Tray Walker died after a dirtbike accident in Miami.
Baltimore plays in Cleveland against the Browns on Sunday.
|Clarence Brooks Autograph|