Former Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Orlando Brown was found dead in his apartment in Baltimore on Friday. He was 40 years old.
Concerned family members called police because they didn’t hear from Brown in a few days. The cause of death is still unknown. A spokesman for the Baltimore Fire Department told the Associated Press that Brown was unresponsive, and was dead when firefighters arrived. A police spokesman said there were no signs of suspicious activity.
“I just want to give our heartfelt condolences to the family of Orlando Brown, to his three sons,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said on the teams website.
Brown began his career with the Cleveland Browns in 1993. He spent three years in Cleveland before going to Baltimore in 1996. Brown returned to Cleveland two years later, but finished his career with the Ravens. He played 129 games during his 11-year career in the NFL.
Brown—also known as “Zeus”—was famously struck in the eye by a penalty flag thrown by Jeff Triplette during a game against the Cleveland Browns. Brown returned to the field and knocked down Triplette.
He suffered bleeding behind the eye and was hospitalized for six days. When Brown returned to the team, the league suspended him for two weeks.
Brown filed a $200 million lawsuit claiming that the injury shortened his career, according to USA Today. Brown and the league agreed to a $15-20 million settlement in 2002.
Ravens Director of Player Development Harry Swayne described Brown as a “big old puppy dog,” and “gentle giant.”
Said Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis: “I just saw him a few days ago. He’s one of the greatest men I know. Really a gentle giant away from the game. He was the original Raven. He set the tone for how we were going to play tough and physical, backing down from no opponent.”