Former Ravens player found dead
Former Ravens player Orlando Brown has been found dead in his downtown Baltimore home, officials and the team said. He was 40.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced Brown's death at the beginning of his news conference with reporters on Friday afternoon. City police and fire officials confirmed that they were at the player's home at the Harborview complex in South Baltimore.
Fire Department spokesman Kevin Cartwright said medics were called after the player was found unresponsive in his home in the 1200 block of Harbor Island Walk. Medics called police to the scene at about 11 a.m. as a matter of protocol, and police say there were no signs of foul play or any initial indications as to the cause of death. The state medical examiner will perform an autopsy.
Official said "preliminary reports did not suggest a crime scene," though four hours later the street near the home was inaccessible and blocked off by crime scene tape. [Pictured above]
Brown played for the Ravens from 1996 to 1998, as well as a second stint from 2003 to 2005. He may be most well known for an incident when he played for the Cleveland Browns, when he was hit in the eye with a penalty flag, causing significant injuries and leading to an injury settlement with the NFL.
After retirement, Brown went into the restaurant business and opened a Fatburger franchise in Columbia, Md. In 2009, he was charged with breaking into his ex-wife's home in Baltimore County, charges which were later dropped. Court records show he was involved this year in an ongoing custody dispute with a Silver Spring woman.
“There was no better friend, no one more loyal than Zeus was to his teammates and those in the Ravens. 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. Loyalty is one of the first words I think when Zeus pops in my mind," said Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome.
“As a player, he came in very raw, but he had a lot of physical ability, that size, and he was naturally strong – and got stronger with his hard work. He had one of the greatest work ethics I’ve ever seen in a player. He was tireless in his passion to become a player. He loved being part of the team.”
“I just saw him a few days ago. He’s one of the greatest men I know – really a gentle giant away from the game. He was the original Raven. He set the tone for how we were going to play tough and physical, backing down from no opponent. When you heard his voice on the field, you knew things were going to be all right," said linebacker Ray Lewis. "He would say: ‘Keep playing. Keep fighting. Do it for us. Do it for your teammates. “Lew,” “Lew,” keep it up!’ I can almost hear that voice right now. And, oh, how he loved his sons. They lost a great father. So sad, just so sad.”