Orlando Brown, the mauling offensive tackle who had played for the Ravens and Browns, was found dead in his Baltimore apartment on Friday, the Ravens announced.
Brown, who was 40, last played in the NFL in 2005. A police spokesman told The Baltimore Sun that there were no signs of foul play or suspicious activity.
Nicknamed "Zeus," Brown built a reputation for having a nasty demeanor on the field but has been described as a loyal teammate by former players.
"Our heartfelt condolences to the family of Orlando Brown, his three sons," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I think everybody knows what he meant to this organization. He's still a big part of us. He's been coming around a lot, working with some of our young players. We're forever grateful just for what he did for the Ravens organization and what he did for the present team. We just can't express our sorrow enough."
Brown made national headlines as a member of the Browns in December 1999, when he was accidentally hit in the eye by a penalty marker thrown by an official. The eye injury forced him to sit out three seasons and led to a reported $25 million settlement with the NFL.
Brown was an undrafted rookie who began his career with the Browns in 1993 and moved to Baltimore with the team in 1996. He played the first three seasons of the Ravens' existence before rejoining the Browns. Brown eventually ended his career by going back to play for the Ravens.
"He was the original Raven," linebacker Ray Lewis said in a statement released by the team. "He set the tone for how we were going to play tough and physical, backing down from no opponent."
Said safety Ed Reed: “This is a sad day. Zeus was a fire-starter. His energy -- he would get us going at practices, in training camp and games. How he loved to play football.”