Former Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams cornerback and CBS sports broadcaster Irv Cross died Sunday morning, according to Chris McPherson of PhiladelphiaEagles.com.
He was 81.
CBS Sports released the following statement:
Cross spent six seasons with the Eagles (1961-1965, 1969) and three seasons with the Rams (1966-1968), posting 22 interceptions, 14 fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns. He was a Pro Bowler in 1964 and 1965.
After his playing career, he spent 23 years with CBS Sports, including 14 years on The NFL Today show. He was awarded the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Pete Rozelle Award for television and radio broadcasters in 2009, its first Black recipient.
"I've been around all kinds of people, from every walk of life. I don't know that I could give you one person who was nicer than Irv Cross," longtime broadcaster Brent Musburger, who worked with Cross, told McPherson. "He was a constant gentleman."
The tributes came pouring in on social media following news of Cross' death:
David Aldridge @davidaldridgedc
It was my honor to speak to the great Irv Cross last June for a story on how he and the equally great Sonny Hill–two Philly legends-broke down barriers and became trailblazing Black TV broadcasters for young kids like me. Rest in Power, Mr. Cross: https://t.co/OIOvr6KYuw
"He knew that it was important for him to do well," sportswriter Clifton Brown said of Cross' broadcasting career. "Irv knew that if the show had failed, that it might hurt down the road for other Black sportscasters to get a similar opportunity. He was carrying that weight and he did it so superbly."
"It's just a seamless transition now," he continued. "We're just so used to seeing former athletes on television. But all of them, particularly those who are African American, whether they know it or not, I believe they owe a debt to Irv Cross."