Ravens Coach, New Bedford High Grad Dies at Age 65
The Baltimore Ravens announced that former defensive line coach Clarence Brooks passed away Saturday morning after a battle with esophageal cancer at the age of 65.
According to the Standard-Times, Clarence was a 1969 New Bedford High School graduate and well liked by all in the National Football League throughout his 22-year career.
“One of the finest coaches I have ever met, he changed the lives and influenced players and coaches for the better,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told the team's website Saturday. “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.”
Brooks was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in September 2015 and tried to keep it a secret as he sought treatment to keep it at bay. After a rough start to the Ravens' season, Brooks announced his condition to the team following an exhilarating game during Week 4 where he received the game ball.
For the remainder of the season, he coached most games from the press box and even attempted to continue his duties early this season, though the cancer returned quote aggressively.
Brooks was born in New York City in 1951 and moved to New Bedford in 1960. He played on for the undefeated Whalers football team in 1968 and graduated in 1969 before moving on to earn a bachelor's degree in sociology at UMass Amherst.
He broke into the NFL in 1993 as a defensive line coach for the Chicago Bears. He also spent time with the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins before settling down in Baltimore in 2005, where he won a Super Bowl ring with the team in 2012.
Brooks is survived by his wife, Justa, their son Jason, daughter Adrienne and grandchildren Aviana and Avery.
Many current and former Ravens players took to social media to profess their sadness for the loss of Brooks.