OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Clarence Brooks, who served as a defensive line coach with the Baltimore Ravens for 11 years, has died at the age of 65.
The Ravens announced that Brooks died Saturday in Weston, Florida. He had esophageal and stomach cancer.
Brooks joined the Ravens in 2005. He coached the defensive line until this spring, when he underwent treatment for his illness. He transitioned into a senior defensive assistant role, but occasionally spent time with the team — including at training camp this summer.
His 24-year career as an NFL coach began in 1993 with the Chicago Bears. He also served as an assistant with Cleveland in 1999 and at Miami from 2000-04.
During his 11-year run as overseer of Baltimore’s defensive front, the Ravens allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns and second-fewest rushing yards per game.
“We loved that man,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. “One of the finest coaches I have ever met, he changed the lives and influenced players and coaches for the better.”
General manager Ozzie Newsome said, “Very few, if any, coaches influenced their players — on and off the field — like Clarence Brooks.”
Before coming to the NFL, Brooks coached in college at Arizona, Syracuse and Massachusetts.
He played guard at UMass from 1970-72 and was a team captain in his final season.
Born in New York on May 20, 1951, Brooks attended New Bedford (Mass.) High School, where he lettered in football and track and field.
“He was the sweetest man I’ve ever met in football,” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said. “He was also as tough as nails and was as respected by everyone on our team.”