Ravens assistant coach Clarence Brooks died of cancer on Saturday morning at age 65, the team announced.
Brooks was the longest-tenured member of the Ravens’ staff, joining the team in 2005 as defensive line coach. He had been battling esophageal cancer, and died at a hospital in Weston, Fla.
“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 said in a statement. “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 regarded as one of the minds behind a consistently strong Baltimore defense and a respected voice in the locker room.
“He was the sweetest man I've ever met in football,” Owner Steve Bisciotti said in a statement. “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."
After receiving his diagnosis during the 2015 season, Brooks transitioned into a senior defensive assistant role. He is survived by his wife, two children and two grandchildren.
The Ravens face the Browns in Cleveland on Sunday.