Earlier, I passed along thoughts from a few members of the Ravens’ organization on the passing of former offensive tackle Orlando Brown. Here are some more.
Affectionately referred to as “Zeus”, Brown made quite a mark during his six years as a Raven, and was loved and respected by those around the organization.
“There was no better friend, no one more loyal than Zeus was to his teammates and those in the Ravens,” GM Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. “If he felt that you respected him, that you were willing to teach him or showed him care, you had a loyal friend for eternity. Loyalty is one of the first words I think when Zeus pops in my mind.
“As a player, he came in very raw, but he had a lot of physical ability, that size, and he was naturally strong - and got stronger with his hard work. He had one of the greatest work ethics I’ve ever seen in a player. He was tireless in his passion to become a player. He loved being part of the team.”
Brown came over with the organization when the Browns moved from Cleveland in 1996, and his teammates say the 6-foot-7, 360-lb. played a big part in establishing the Ravens mentality that still stands today.
“I just saw him a few days ago,” linebacker Ray Lewis stated. “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.
“When you heard his voice on the field, you knew things were going to be all right. He would say: ‘Keep playing. Keep fighting. Do it for us. Do it for your teammates. “Lew,” “Lew,” keep it up!’ I can almost hear that voice right now. And, oh, how he loved his sons. They lost a great father. So sad, just so sad.”
Zeus overcame tough odds at the start of his career, signing with the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 1993 and then appearing in 14 games with eight starts in 1994.
He went on to appear in 129 games over the course of his 10-year career, with 119 starts.
“Orlando will always be one of my favorites,” former Ravens head coach Brian Billick said. “He brought such passion and physicality to practices and games. There is no way to quantify his heart, his actual love to play football. The game was so important to him. This is such sad news. He was bigger than life. You just feel for his family right now.”
Lately, Brown had been spending a decent amount of time at Ravens headquarters, hanging out with and mentoring some of the younger players on the roster.
One of those players was second-year offensive tackle Ramon Harewood, who the Ravens selected in the sixth-round of the 2010 draft.
“I am at a loss right now,” Harewood said. “When I think of Zeus, I just have to smile. He was always there to pick you up on a bad day and always had a smile on his face. He was a gentle giant and always seemed to be able to put anyone around him in a good mood. He took time out of his busy schedule over the last couple of months to work with me to help me grow as a player. To have a player and man of his stature do that for a young player like myself says all you need to know about him. He was always upbeat, always encouraging and would never let me get down on myself.
“We had similar backgrounds, with me only playing football for four years and him having to work his way into the NFL the hard way. He was an inspiration both as a player and as a human being. I will miss him, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. “