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Gary Brown, Former Cowboys Assistant and NFL RB, Dies at Age 52

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVApril 11, 2022

Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Gary Brown, who was an NFL running back and assistant coach, died Sunday at the age of 52.

His most recent stint in the NFL was as the running backs coach of the Dallas Cowboys, and team president and general manager Jerry Jones released a statement:

"Gary Brown had a big heart partnered with a big smile and a big personality. His energy and spirit were infectious. He lit up every room he walked into and touched the lives of those who knew him in such a positive way. Everyone who knew him, loved him. He meant so much to the players he coached and the coaches he coached with. His love for his family, football and life was evident each day. He continued to fight, and he never gave up. My family and the Dallas Cowboys family are heartbroken, and our love and support are with his wife, Kim, his daughters, Malena and Dorianna, and his son, Tre."

Brown played collegiately at Penn State before the Houston Oilers selected him with an eighth-round pick in the 1991 NFL draft.

He played for the Oilers, San Diego Chargers and New York Giants from 1991 to 1999 and finished his career with 4,300 rushing yards, 631 receiving yards and 24 total touchdowns. He also had two seasons with more than 1,000 rushing yards.

New York released a statement, calling him a "great man."

New York Giants @Giants

We mourn the passing of Gary Brown, a great man who played for Big Blue for two years - including a 1,000-yard season in 1998.<br>Once a Giant, Always a Giant. <a href="https://t.co/86A99vs1ZX">pic.twitter.com/86A99vs1ZX</a>

Brown went into coaching following his playing career and was the running backs coach for the Cowboys from 2013 to 2019. DeMarco Murray (2014) and Ezekiel Elliott (2016 and 2018) each won NFL rushing titles under his coaching, while Peyton Hillis ran for more than 1,000 yards in a season when he was his running backs coach with the Cleveland Browns.

His final coaching stop was as the running backs coach of the Wisconsin Badgers last season.

Braelon Allen, who broke through as a star under his coaching last year, reacted to Brown's death:

Braelon Allen @BraelonAllen

This one hurts…rest easy coach. <a href="https://t.co/i3iN5H2Zli">pic.twitter.com/i3iN5H2Zli</a>

Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel noted Brown was unable to travel to the Badgers' bowl game last season because of health concerns. Potrykus reported he was diagnosed with cancer in his colon and liver when he was on Cleveland's coaching staff but was declared healthy following chemotherapy and surgery.

Brown was then diagnosed with cancer again following the 2019 season when doctors discovered a malignant tumor near his pancreas.

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