Former Hall of Fame Browns tackle Mike McCormack dies at 83

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

An instrumental figure in the NFL for nearly four decades, McCormack helped bring championships to Cleveland as a player, mentored players as a head coach and guided franchises as an executive.

Mike McCormack, a former Hall of Fame offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns and NFL coach and executive, died at the age of 83 last Friday in Palm Desert, Calif.

Best known for his eight seasons as a bruising yet quick-footed blocker in Cleveland, McCormack suffered from heart problems and passed away at a hospice facility near his home, according to a report by The New York Times.

McCormack began his career with the now-defunct New York Yanks, who drafted him with the third pick in the 1951 NFL Draft out of Kansas, where he was an All-America honorable mention. After spending two years in the US Army, he returned to the NFL as a member of the Browns.

McCormack helped lead the Browns to NFL Championships in 1954 and '55 and an Eastern Conference Championship in '57, playing along NFL greats like Otto Graham and Jim Brown. He earned Pro Bowl accolades six times and was voted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984.

Legendary Browns founder and coach Paul Brown, who traded for McCormack in 1954, spoke highly of his former player in his 1979 memoir, calling him "the finest offensive tackle who ever played pro football."

McCormack became a coach after his playing career, following in the footsteps of Brown, who he considered a mentor and idol. He served as head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1973-'75 and the Baltimore Colts in 1980 and '81, though he never had a winning season.

He also served as director of football operations and later president and general manager for the Seattle Seahawks, and became the president of the expansion Carolina Panthers in 1993. The Panthers erected a statue of him at Ericsson Stadium in 1997.

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