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Baltimore Ravens fans may feel melancholy watching Orlando Brown line up for the Baltimore Ravens. The younger Brown, of course. A former third-round pick from Oklahoma, Brown Jr. was crucial in keeping star quarterback Lamar Jackson upright and healthy from 2018-20. Now, the offensive tackle is with the Cincinnati Bengals.

So why the melancholy? The elder Orlando Brown, who spent most of his career with the Baltimore Ravens franchise, could have been a Hall of Famer before a horrific injury and his tragic death.

Orlando Brown Sr. was the Ravens’ star left tackle

Nicknamed Zeus, Orlando Brown Sr. was a bruising offensive tackle in the ’90s. He signed with the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted rookie in 1993 and joined the starting lineup a year later, starting eight games in 1994 and all 16 in 1995 before moving to Baltimore.

Brown Sr. started all of the Ravens’ first 32 games and started another 13 in 1998. The veteran offensive tackle returned to Cleveland in 1999, where he started the first 15 games before he suffered a horrific eye injury. NFL official Jeff Triplette accidentally hit Brown Sr. in the right eye with a penalty flag, knocking the big man out of the game.

Brown Sr., who suffered temporary blindness from the incident, sued the NFL for $200 million and received between $15-$25 million in a settlement.

Brown Sr. didn’t play in another NFL game until he re-signed with the Ravens in 2003. He played with the Ravens through the 2005 season and retired in the spring of 2006. Brown Sr. totaled a 37 approximate value in his six seasons with the Ravens. That total ranks seventh in Ravens history among offensive linemen.

Brown tragically died in 2011

Orlando Brown Sr.’s temporary blindness wasn’t the only health issue he struggled with. Standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing 370 pounds, he died from diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment common among people with diabetes.

Brown Sr. was only 40 years old when he died. He left behind three young sons, as well as a daughter who didn’t live with him.

Orlando Brown Jr. is living up to his father’s lofty footsteps

Now back to the melancholy surrounding Orlando Brown and the Baltimore Ravens. Brown Sr. died over a decade ago. His son, Orlando Jr., is proudly living up in his father’s footsteps in the NFL.

Baltimore selected Brown Jr., an All-American offensive tackle from Oklahoma, in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He started 10 games as a rookie and moved into Baltimore’s starting lineup full-time in 2019. The powerful right tackle earned Pro Bowl honors and paved the way for Lamar Jackson‘s MVP-winning season.

In 2021, Brown Jr. was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, winning Super Bowl LVII with the franchise in 2023 against the Philadelphia Eagles. In March, he signed a four-year, $64 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference


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