Willie Brown was beloved inside the Raiders organization, and out. The Hall of Fame cornerback and Silver and Black mainstay made a positive impression on most everyone, no matter how long they were with the franchise.
That has been clear on social media, with condolences and memories told from so many who met him after news broke Tuesday that Brown had died at 78 years old.
Raiders owner Mark Davis knew Brown as well as anyone. He was close with the entire Davis family, including late owner Al Davis and Mark’s mother Carol. That’s a main reason why Brown’s death hit Mark Davis hard.
“It’s a very sad day for the Raider Nation as a whole, and for my family in particular,” Davis said in a statement. "Willie Brown was one of the greatest to ever play the game. But it was off the field, and how he treated my mom for which I will forever be indebted to him.
"Every road trip, it was Willie who helped my mom up and down the stairs of the plane. It was Willie who joined her for all dinners on the road. It was Willie who came to her every birthday and Mother’s Day dinner. It was Willie who was her best friend. We loved and will miss you, Willie.”
Former Raiders head coach John Madden also expressed his sorrow for Brown’s loss.
“Willie Brown was a true Raider and one of the best cornerbacks that ever played the game,” Madden said in a statement. “It was a comfort to a coach to be able to have Willie Brown in the defensive backfield. Willie was a good guy, a team captain, and a true Raider from the day he joined our team in 1967, until he passed away today.
"He will be missed by me and the entire Raiders organization.”
Those not old enough to remember Brown’s playing days or his work as a coach certainly know about his tradition of wishing an early “Happy Mother’s Day,” before announcing the team’s second-round pick. He read Derek Carr’s name back in 2014, a moment the quarterback never will forget.
Man... going to miss you Willie! I'll never forget when you called my name on that stage to welcome me into the Raider family 4 life! Prayers to his family. https://t.co/nqgAuuJD1G— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) October 22, 2019
Even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement about Brown’s passing, remembering the dominant player and the Raiders ambassador.
"We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Raiders' great Willie Brown,” Goodell’s statement read. “As a player, coach, and executive, Willie served as a tremendous ambassador for the Raiders and football for more than 50 years. He will forever be immortalized by NFL Films with his iconic 75-yard interception return in Super Bowl XI as he ran straight into the camera and our imaginations.
"After a remarkable 16-year Pro Football Hall of Fame career that he began as an undrafted free agent, Willie went on to become a Raiders coach and later a member of the team's front office. Willie lived the Raiders' motto "Commitment to Excellence" with integrity and touched the lives of hundreds of NFL players with his wisdom and wit. Willie was always a welcome guest at the NFL Draft and I enjoyed visiting with him each year. He was always enthusiastic and optimistic about the Raiders' picks and upcoming season.
"We extend our condolences to Willie's family, the Raiders organization, and fans around the world."