Former Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch dead at age 71





NAPA, Calif. (AP) -- - Cliff Branch, one of the Raiders' career-leading wide receivers who won three Super Bowls in 14 seasons with the franchise, has died. He was 71.

Branch was found dead Saturday in a hotel room in Bullhead City, Arizona, the city's police department said. It said an initial investigation revealed no foul play and that Branch died of natural causes.

''Cliff Branch touched the lives of generations of Raiders fans,'' the Raiders said in a statement on their website. ''His loss leaves an eternal void for the Raiders Family, but his kindness and loving nature will be fondly remembered forever.''

One of the game's top deep threats from 1972 to 1985 in Oakland and Los Angeles, Branch was an All-Pro three straight seasons (1974-76) and made four Pro Bowls. He scored 67 touchdowns through the air, leading the NFL in TD receptions in 1974 with 13 and in 1976 with 12. Branch also had a league-high 1,092 yards receiving in 1974.

He was a force in the postseason, with 1,289 yards receiving. The Raiders won Super Bowls after the 1976, 1980 and 1983 seasons - the last one in Los Angeles, where the franchise moved in 1982 after protracted court fights before returning to the Bay Area in 1995.

In 1983, Branch tied the NFL record with a 99-yard touchdown catch in a regular-season game. He stands third among Raiders pass catchers in yards receiving with 8,685, trailing Tim Brown and Fred Biletnikoff - both Hall of Famers.

Branch was a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004 and 2010.

''All my peers that I played against and that are in the Hall of Fame, they tell me that I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame,'' Branch told the Raiders' website in a recent interview. ''It's the crowning glory, just like getting a Super Bowl ring.''

---

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

COMMENTS

More Related News

Cedric Benson, prolific rusher at UT who played in NFL, dies
Cedric Benson, prolific rusher at UT who played in NFL, dies

Former NFL running back Cedric Benson, one of the most prolific rushers in NCAA and University of Texas history, has died in a motorcycle accident in Texas. Benson's attorney, Sam Bassett, said Austin law enforcement told him that Benson was killed in the wreck Saturday night. Bassett said he did

A lot of parallels: Elway has long been Lynch
A lot of parallels: Elway has long been Lynch's idol, mentor

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch always wanted to be like John Elway, his idol growing up and his mentor in the NFL both on the football field and in the front office. ''John was a tremendous resource,'' Lynch said Saturday as his team wrapped up two days of joint practices

The Antonio Brown helmet situation goes from weird to weirder
The Antonio Brown helmet situation goes from weird to weirder

The NFL doesn't want Raiders receiver Antonio Brown to wear the Schutt AiR Advantage, even though the Schutt AiR Advantage was never banned by the NFL, until Antonio Brown found a loophole in the league's helmet protocol that would allow him to replace his more-than-10-years-old Schutt AiR Advantage

NFL closes the Antonio Brown helmet loophole
NFL closes the Antonio Brown helmet loophole

"NFL" apparently stands for "No F-kin' Loophole." Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL decided to require testing of the Schutt AiR Advantage after previously informing the Raiders that, if receiver Antonio Brown could find one less than 10 years old, he could

Antonio Brown moves closer to return to practice for Raiders
Antonio Brown moves closer to return to practice for Raiders

Antonio Brown made it through a walkthrough practice for the Oakland Raiders with no issues with his frost-bitten feet and is expected to be a full participant in practice soon for the first time this summer. Coach Jon Gruden said Saturday that he thinks Brown will be able to get back into practice

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Football

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.