A rainy Friday has gotten even darker out here at Ravens headquarters, as the team has announced that former Ravens offensive tackle Orlando "Zeus" Brown has passed away.
Few details of Brown's passing are available at this time. The massive former lineman was 40 years old. He is divorced and survived by three sons.
A Ravens official informed the team of Brown's passing immediately after today's practice.
"Our heartfelt condolences to the family of Orlando Brown, his three sons," head coach John Harbaugh said. "I think everybody knows what he meant to this organization. He's still a big part of us. He's been coming around a lot, working with some of our young players. We're forever grateful just for what he did for the Ravens organization and what he did for the present team. We just can't express our sorrow enough."
Brown had two stints with the Ravens - from 1996-98 and 2003-05. While not many players currently on the Ravens' roster played with Brown, he would often spend time hanging out with guys in the training room and equipment room, and was a popular guy among those he spent time with.
"Zeus was just one of those characters," linebacker Jarret Johnson said. "Huge to this organization. He came over with this team from the Browns, so a lot of people in the facility know him. Just devastating news.
"Zeus was tough because when I was here, I was a young guy. I played with him my first three years, and Zeus was probably the most intimidating offensive lineman I've ever been around. Had a black visor and a throwback jersey hanging out under his pads, and he wanted to fight every play. Always talking trash. Zeus always brought out the best in you, and you knew when you went to practice, you'd better bring it, otherwise Zeus was going to get you. Hardest working guy; I know it's a clichÃƒÂ© for people to say, but he was absolutely the first one on the field and would stick around after, hitting the pads. Everybody remembers that, and that's not even close to being a clichÃƒÂ©, it's the truth.
Brown was forced to sit out three seasons after being hit in the eye by a weighted penalty flag thrown by referee Jeff Triplette. Following the incident, Brown sued the NFL and won a $25 million settlement.
He was arrested in 2009 and charged with third-degree burglary and destruction of property for an incident at his ex-wife's house. The case was later dropped.
Brown went into the restaurant business after his retirement, and owned the first Fatburger franchise in Maryland.
"It's disturbing, man," Suggs said of Brown's death. "We don't even know the cause of death. It's just sad. He was a beast on the field and a gentle giant off of it. It's just very unfortunate that he had to leave us so young. My heart goes out to his family."