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Cliff Branch (1948–2019), legendary Raiders receiver

by Kirk Fox

Cliff Branch was a star receiver for the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders, catching over 500 passes during a 14-year NFL career from 1972 until 1986. The speedy Branch was one of the best deep threats in the league, catching many long TD passes from quarterbacks Ken Stabler and Jim Plunkett. He helped the Raiders win three Super Bowls with an impressive 73 receptions during the playoffs. Branch played college football at Colorado and was an outstanding track sprinter, finishing 5th in the 100 meter finals at the NCAA championships in 1972.

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Died: Saturday, August 3, 2019 (Who else died on August 3?)


Details of death: Died at the age of 71.

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What they said about him: “That was a terrible loss to the Raiders and to football and everybody that knew him. Our prayers are with him and his family. That’s a big loss for us.” —Raiders head coach Jon Gruden

“Rest In Peace to Ken’s long time friend Cliff Branch who rightfully deserves a place in the Hall of Fame.” —Twitter page for former Raiders Hall of Fame quarterback Ken Stabler (1945–2015)

“In a time of celebration for fellow players being inducted into the pro football HOF I’m saddened to hear about the passing of cliff branch. Another great player that won’t be here to see himself inducted. Love you Cliff.” —Charles Woodson, legendary Raiders defensive back

“From my Dad and the rest of the Villapiano family… Rest in Peace to the best wife receiver that should be in the Hall of Fame. We love you you. Rest In Peace, Buddy.” —Legendary Raiders linebacker Phil Villapiano and his daughter

Full obituary: Los Angeles Times

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