Former Cleveland Brown lineman Orlando Brown was found dead at his home in his Baltimore home at the age of 40. The 6-7, 350-pound lineman played 11 seasons in the NFL with 2 stints each in Baltimore and Cleveland.
Despite his long career in the league Brown was most known for suing the NFL after an official nearly blinded him during a game. Referee Jeff Triplette threw his yellow, weighted flag which was aimed right at Brown’s head. The weighted part of the flag was filled with metal BBs and struck Brown in the eye and injured him.
The injury prompted a very famous scene in which Brown went after the ref, angry at the situation. His lawsuit was settled out of court and eventually returned to play with Baltimore.
Brown went with Cleveland when the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1996. After three years with the Ravens, he signed a 6-year, $27 million free-agent contract with the expansion Browns in 1999. Late that season he received national attention because of an accident that nearly blinded him.
Early in the second quarter of a Week 15 game against Jacksonville, the Browns were called for a false start penalty. The referee, Jeff Triplette, blew the whistle and threw his flag, which was weighted with BBs. The flag flew between the bars of Brown’s cage facemask and struck his right eye. Brown went to the sideline holding his eye but turned around and came back onto the field and shoved Triplette to the ground. He was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and was immediately ejected from the game. Three days later, the league suspended him indefinitely.
Brown had blurred vision and bleeding in the eye and was hospitalized for six days. Despite numerous treatments around the country, he wasn’t medically cleared to play again until early 2003. That March, Brown signed a free-agent contract with the Ravens. He played his final three seasons back in Baltimore wearing a tinted visor over his facemask and goggles underneath. In the meantime, his lawsuit against the N.F.L. was settled out of court in 2002.
[via NY Times]