Former Ravens assistant coach Clarence Brooks passed away Saturday due to esophageal cancer. Brooks joined the Ravens in 2005 as the defensive line coach and remained in that position until 2015. He was still working with the team last spring after his diagnosis.
The impact Brooks had on everyone in the Ravens community was clear from their reactions which came pouring in on Saturday after the news of Brooks' passing.
"Very few, if any, coaches influenced their players – on and off the field – like Clarence Brooks," said general manager Ozzie Newsome. "How fortunate are the Ravens to have had this special person in our lives for the past 12 years? He was a teacher, a friend, a father figure to many and a great football coach. A lot of our defensive success over the years is due to his ability to get the most out of his players on the defensive line. This is a sad, sad day for our team and extended family."
“Our heartfelt condolences and love go out to Justa and the Brooks family on the passing of Clarence," head coach John Harbaugh said. "We loved that man! He is at peace now through the grace of Jesus Christ. He fought the good fight and won. One of the finest coaches I have ever met, he changed the lives and influenced players and coaches for the better. He was a great man, loving husband and devoted father. He was as tough and determined in adversity as you’ll ever see and as loyal a friend as there is.
"‘C.B.’ will forever walk as a loved and cherished member of the Ravens family.”
"What a man, what a coach, what an inspiration," said former Ravens head coach Brian Billick who hired Brooks in 2005. Beyond being one of the best position coaches in the league, Clarence was one of the most respected people in the NFL. He was a great teacher and friend. His positive and upbeat, yet stern, way was special. The proof is in the pudding. Look at how players improved under him. It would be tough to find a more respected assistant in the NFL. My heart reaches out to Justa and his family."
“Clarence Brooks is one of the finest human beings I have ever met," current linebackers coach Don Martindale said. "Selfishly speaking, you would like to say he was your best friend, but he was really everybody’s best friend. We are happy he is not suffering anymore. I love him like a brother, and I am going to miss him terribly.”
"This morning, the Bisciottis are so sad to hear about Clarence's passing," owner Steve Bisciotti said. "He was the sweetest man I've ever met in football. He was also as tough as nails and was as respected by everyone on our team as any coach who ever touched the Ravens. His impact was more than people on the outside could know. He will be so missed."
Several players also issued statements talking about the impact Brooks had on them as their coach.
“Clarence Brooks was a rare, special coach," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "We had a relationship that became more than football; he was family. He was every bit the definition of the word ‘coach.’ He was firm and demanding when he needed to be, but was a father figure and caring at the same time. I will definitely miss my friend.”
“Coach Brooks was like a father figure to me and every other player he coached," defensive tackle Brandon Williams said. "He made me the player I am today, but more importantly, helped me to be the man I am today. He always got the best out of you. He saw the potential in every player and did everything in his power to help you be the best you could be – on and off the field. Every day I walked in this building, no matter what was going on, he could always make me smile. I will miss him, and my heart goes out to the entire Brooks family.”
“Coach Brooks was a heck of a coach, but an even better man," defensive end Lawrence Guy said. "He cared so much about all of us and could always pull the best out of you in any situation. Through him, I learned how to prepare better, practice better and play better. I will truly miss his coaching, his fellowship and his mentorship. Rest well, ‘C.B.’”
“I am deeply saddened by the news of ‘C.B.’ passing away," said former Ravens tackle Haloti Ngata. "I hope that I can help continue his legacy by the way I live and play. I played under ‘C.B.’ for nine years. In that time, he helped me go to five Pro Bowls and win a Super Bowl ring. He deserves a lot of that credit. He worked so hard with me and my Ravens teammates. This is tough news to swallow.
"I will miss you, Coach. Thank you for everything you taught me through the years – on and off the field. I love you, Clarence.”
Many others reacted over social media.
Never had the honor of meeting CB but everyone loved him. Tough year for this org. May God comfort family friends 😔 https://t.co/iSlDQIxayl— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) September 17, 2016
Never met a more beloved coach and man in all my years in the NFL. Rest well, CB https://t.co/t98P7Pollx— Chad Steele (@CSteele32) September 17, 2016
RIP to a great man and coach! 🙏🏾 https://t.co/DWYgyjcT0u— Zachary Orr I (@ZO35) September 17, 2016
RIP Coach CB you will be miss!!! 🙏🏾— Anthony Levine (@ALevine41) September 17, 2016
RIP to a great man and a great coach pic.twitter.com/WGy6rsmc47— Kyle Juszczyk (@JuiceCheck44) September 17, 2016
CB, visiting by the fire pit at the pro bowl ur passion, honesty and love helped me become a RAVEN!! THANK U— Eric Weddle (@weddlesbeard) September 17, 2016
RIP CB pic.twitter.com/jgWnwPq0rd
Thoughts & prayers to Clarence Brooks Family.— Sam Koch (@Sam_Koch4) September 17, 2016
Honored to spend 10 years with one of the greatest coaches. Will be missed greatly. #Ravens
RIP to a great coach, but a better person. Another angel looking after us! You will be missed. CB.— Shareece Wright (@ShareeceWright) September 17, 2016
Rest In Peace coach C.B 🙏🏾 tough day for us Ravens. We lost not only a great coach but a great… https://t.co/ewqvZGhOZj— TWEST-B.W.I (@TerranceWestBWI) September 17, 2016
Rest In Peach CB! Sending my love, prayers, and condolences to his family 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/UCqYbzd61i— Breshad Perriman (@B_Perriman11) September 17, 2016
For the little time I knew you. You without a doubt made an impact on my life. Thank you. R.I.P CB pic.twitter.com/D9iDxDsWgX— Ronnie Stanley (@IamtheGuru79) September 17, 2016