Ravens Grieve Passing Of ‘Zeus’

Former Ravens tackle Orlando Brown, 40, has passed away. Details not yet known.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Friday, September 23rd, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

The Ravens are grieving the loss of Orlando Brown, who was found dead in his Baltimore apartment Friday morning.

The cause of death for the 40-year-old former Ravens offensive tackle is not known at this time. The team received news of his death during Friday’s practice.

Brown’s family told police they were concerned after they had not heard from him in a few days.

The man nicknamed “Zeus,” will be sorely missed.

“I just want to give our heartfelt condolences to the family of Orlando Brown, to his three sons,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

“I think everybody knows what he meant to this organization, to this team, to the Ravens. He’s still a big part of us. … We’re forever grateful for what he did for the Ravens organization and what he did for the present team.”

Zeus Mic’d Up vs. Steelers

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Brown played for the Ravens from 1996-1998 and again from 2003-2005, during which the 6-foot-7, 360-pounder formed a reputation for being a physical blocker with a nasty demeanor – and that’s a compliment.

“‘Zeus’ was probably the most intimidating offensive lineman I have ever been around,” said Ravens outside linebacker Jarret Johnson, who faced Brown in practice for three years.

“He wanted to fight every play and always just talking trash. ‘Zeus’ always brought out the best in you. You know that when you came to practice, you better bring it, or otherwise ‘Zeus’ was going to get you.”

But there was another side to Zeus that many people – especially his opponents – didn’t know.

“He’s a big old puppy dog, a gentle giant. Most people wouldn’t know that because they hear the bark first,” Ravens Director of Player Development Harry Swayne said with a laugh.

Brown came into the league in 1993 as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns. He was a raw prospect with a lot of physical ability. He was “the original Raven” in 1996 when the team relocated to Baltimore, linebacker Ray Lewis said.

“He set the tone for how we were going to play tough and physical, backing down from no opponent,” Lewis said. “When you heard his voice on the field, you know things were going to be alright.”

Brown went back to Cleveland for the 1999 and 2000 seasons, but spent two years out of the league due to an injury suffered when a penalty marker hit him in the eye. He returned to football to play for the Ravens in 2003.

“There was no better friend, no one more loyal than ‘Zeus’ was to his teammates and those in the Ravens,” Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. “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.”

Brown started 13 games in 2003 and 2004, then played in and started nine games in 2005 before ending his 11-year career.

Brown went into the restaurant business after retiring from football. He was the owner of the first Fatburger franchise in Maryland, located in Elkridge.

The Washington, D.C. native still was involved with the Ravens, however.

He stopped by the team’s training facility about once every couple weeks, Swayne estimated. This offseason, he voluntarily worked with tackles Ramon Harewood and Oniel Cousins, trying to instill his mauling demeanor in them.

“It’s tough when somebody you grew to love and respect passes away,” Harewood said. “I’m at a loss for words. He helped me tremendously and he did it all for free, giving up his time.”

Read more comments from Ravens players and former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick.

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