PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Roger Brown, a Virginia Sports Hall of Famer from Surry County who racked up 6 NFL Pro Bowl selections as a towering defensive tackle in the 1960s, has died at age 84.
“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of our dear Roger Brown,” wrote the staff of Brown’s namesake restaurant in Olde Towne Portsmouth. “Roger passed away this morning around 2:00am. The legacy he’s created has made him valued member of our community and he will be deeply missed. Those of us who have had the privilege of knowing and working with Roger have lost a dear friend and inspiring mentor.”
Brown was a major figure in Portsmouth and Hampton Roads, and known for his kindness and community involvement. In 2019, Portsmouth rolled out the red carpet to celebrate his 82nd birthday.
Brown was born in 1937 in Surry County and grew up in Newport News. He went on to play for Maryland State College (now University of Maryland-Eastern Shore). He was drafted 42nd overall in the 1960 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions and played there from 1960 to 1966 before ending his 10-year career with the Los Angeles Rams. He was an integral part of both teams’ “Fearsome Foursome.”
The towering 6-foot-5, 300-pound lineman started 124 of 138 games in his NFL career, amassing 78 sacks, 2 interceptions and 3 safeties. He was actually the first ever NFL player to regularly weigh over 300 pounds.
Brown was elected to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Lions’ Ring of Honor in 2018. He’s also in the College Football Hall of Fame and Maryland Sports Hall of Fame.
Brown’s family will receive friends on Tuesday, September 21 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sturtevant Funeral Home on Portsmouth Blvd. This will be open to the public, but both the funeral service and burial will be private. You can email your condolences to RememberingRogerBrown@gmail.com.