Former Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch, who won three Super Bowls and scored 67 touchdowns during a 14-year NFL career, has died at 71. A cause of death has not been revealed.
The Raiders released news of Branch's passing on Saturday evening:
Raiders owner Mark Davis also released a statement:
Branch made the NFL's All-Pro first team each season from 1974 to 1976.
A fourth-round pick out of Colorado in 1972, Branch didn't see much action until his third season. He broke out in a big way, though, leading the NFL with 1,092 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.
Branch's speed certainly caused problems: Of note, he was clocked at 10.0 seconds in the 100-meter dash at the 1972 NCAA Outdoor Championships. He also told Eddie Paskal of Raiders.com that he ran a 4.2-second 40-yard dash.
Two seasons later, the wideout amassed 24.2 yards per reception and led the league with 12 scores. The fantastic deep threat with a penchant for big plays had 21 touchdowns for 40 or more yards during his career, including one for 99.
Branch also came up big when his team needed him most: He caught five passes for 62 yards and two touchdowns in Super Bowl XV and had six receptions for 94 yards and a score in Super Bowl XVIII.
The wideout has been named a Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist twice in 2004 and 2010 but has not been enshrined.
Branch most recently spent time helping the Raiders evaluate players for the 2019 NFL draft and went to the NFL Scouting Combine.