Ex-Rams standout defensive tackle Roger Brown dies at 84

Former Detroit Lions player Roger Brown watches during the team's game against Seattle on Oct. 28, 2018.
Roger Brown looks on during a Lions game in Detroit on Oct. 28, 2018. Brown, a College Football Hall of Famer, was a six-time Pro Bowl selection with the Lions and Rams. He has died at 84.
(Paul Sancya / Associated Press)

Roger Brown, a College Football Hall of Famer and six-time Pro Bowl selection with the Detroit Lions and Rams, has died. He was 84.

The Lions and College Football Hall of Fame announced his death Friday. The Lions said a member of Brown’s family confirmed the death. No cause was given.

Brown played 10 years in the NFL. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1960 draft by Detroit. In his seven seasons with the Lions, Brown went to the Pro Bowl five times (1962 to 1966) and was an All-Pro selection in 1962 and 1963. He started in 124 of the 138 games he played.


“In my 10 years with the Lions and the Rams, I never missed a game,” Brown said in a 2015 interview with the Virginian Pilot. “I had broken hands and broken bones. But probably not as many as I caused. I had 12 operations.”

The Rams’ Aaron Donald had one of three sacks on Bears quarterback Andy Dalton in the opener, but he feels as if he should have had more.

Sept. 16, 2021

Brown’s most memorable game with Detroit was on Thanksgiving Day in 1962 against Green Bay when he sacked Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr seven times. The Lions had 11 sacks in that game, which remains a franchise record.

Sacks weren’t made into an official statistic by the NFL until 1982, but Brown had four seasons with 10 or more with Detroit, according to Pro Football Reference, including 14½ in 1964.

“Roger Brown will always hold a special place in our team’s history,” Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp said in a statement. “Roger’s career accomplishments solidify his legacy alongside some of the all-time greats of our game. I am happy we were able to induct Roger into the Pride of the Lions in 2018 to ensure that his contributions to the Lions will never be forgotten.”

Brown was traded to the Rams in 1967 and joined the “Fearsome Foursome” defensive line alongside Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Merlin Olsen for three seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in 1967 after getting seven sacks.


Brown was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009 after a dominating career at Maryland Eastern Shore from 1956 to 1959. He was a two-time NAIA All-American and was part of a team that went 24-5-1 during his four years at the school.

“Roger Brown was an absolute force on the defensive line at Maryland Eastern Shore,” said NFF Chairman Archie Manning. “He was a huge part of HBCU football history and helped usher in the era of massive linemen to the game.“

Brown was a successful businessman and restaurateur in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia after his retirement.