Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
While this young Browns team prepares for what might be its biggest challenge yet, the larger Browns family has suffered a loss.
Mike McCormack, a member of the Cleveland Browns from 1954 to 1962, died at his Home Friday in Palm Desert, CA. He was 83.
As a player, McCormack had an impressive career at offensive tackle. He was selected to the Pro Bowl six times, and blocked for running back great Jim Brown for six seasons. Often it was his blocking that allowed Brown to have success. McCormack helped the Browns win two championships in 1954 and 1955, and actually had a fumble recovery in ’54 that set up an early touchdown.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984, and was named to the USA TODAY’s 75th Anniversary All-NFL Team as one of the three finest tackles in league history.
Clearly, McCormack was good at what he did. But perhaps the highest praise he ever received came from his coach, the legendary Paul Brown. Brown considered McCormack to be the best offensive lineman he’d ever coached. McCormack was a combination of great power, intelligence and speed.
Former NFL executive Bucko Kilroy once commented that if you were to grade McCormack, there were many games in which he would have received a perfect 100. There were many Sundays when the defensive lineman across from him never made a tackle.
After ending his playing career in 1962, McCormack served as an assistant under Vince Lombardi and George Allen. He later became a head coach in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Seattle. He also served as the general manager of the Seahawks until 1988.
In 1995, McCormack was instrumental in bringing the Carolina Panthers to Charlotte. He served as the team’s president for the first two years of the franchise, and became the first inductee into the Carolina Panthers Hall of Honor.
As a player, assistant coach, head coach, general manager and team president, he made a mark on the NFL. A pretty big one. His was a life dedicated to football.
Source: ESPN.com, wikipeida.com, The New Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football by Paul Zimmerman, USA Today