The Raider family lost a beloved member of the family Tuesday when legendary Raiders cornerback Willie Brown died at the age of 78.

Brown was a treasured member of the Silver and Black and his passing hit head coach Jon Gruden hard.

"We're really sad about losing one of the great Raiders and great people that I've met, Willie Brown," Gruden told the media Wednesday. "Our heart is really torn up, man. He was one great guy great player, One of the reasons I came back to coach was to be with Willie Brown. So our condolences go to his family and all the Raiders players that played with him and knew him. I'm sure they share in our grief. God bless Willie Brown. 

Late Raiders owner Al Davis traded for Brown in 1967, and it was one of the most impactful moves in franchise history. Brown played for the Raiders for 12 seasons, with his pick-six in Super Bowl XI against Minnesota serving as one of the iconic moments of his illustrious career.

A physical cornerback, Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984. He served as the Raiders defensive backs coach for 10 seasons and was one of the public faces of the franchise before his health started to decline.

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Brown is the latest member of the Raiders family to pass, just two months after Cliff Branch died.


"It's been hard," Gruden said. "Especially for Mark Davis and his mom that grew up with these guys. These are legendary players and great people, and it's hard to swallow losing Cliff and certainly losing Willie and as you mentioned several of the other men that we have lost. But that's life. None of us are guaranteed the next day. That's why you live for the moment and pay your respects the best way that you can."