Clarence Brooks, the longest-tenured assistant coach on the Baltimore Ravens' staff, died Saturday after a battle with esophageal cancer. He was 65.
Brooks joined the Ravens in 2005 and coached the defensive line for 11 seasons. He moved to a senior defensive assistant role in December after revealing his diagnosis.
"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."
In Brooks' 11 years as line coach, the Ravens surrendered the fewest rushing touchdowns (89) of any NFL team during that span. He helped mold the career of defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, a five-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time all-pro pick.
Prior to joining the Ravens, Brooks coached with the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears.
“We knew he loved his players,” Brooks' wife Justa said, according to the team's website. “Through all of this, we've found out how much his players loved him. We thank everyone for the loving support."
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."