Ex-NFL QB Brown dies; led San Francisco to unbeaten season

Updated: August 8, 2007, 11:26 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Ed Brown, a former NFL quarterback and a leader of the University of San Francisco's undefeated 1951 team, has died. He was 78.

Brown died last Thursday in Kennewick, Wash., of prostate cancer, according to his daughter, Brooke Brownie.

Brown played 12 NFL seasons, including eight with the Chicago Bears and nearly four more with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was the Bears' starting quarterback from 1955-59, playing in the 1956 NFL title game and earning a spot in two Pro Bowls while also serving as Chicago's punter.

Brown passed for 15,600 yards and 102 touchdowns in his NFL career, including a career-best 2,982 yards and 21 TDs for the Steelers in 1963.

Brown, who was born in North Carolina and attended high school in San Luis Obispo, led San Francisco to a 9-0 record in his senior year of 1951. He earned the nickname "All-Around Brown" while playing quarterback, kicker and punter for a team that included Pro Football Hall of Famers Gino Marchetti, Ollie Matson and Bob St. Clair.

The Dons then received praise for refusing to drop their two black players in order to receive a bowl bid, as was required by most major bowl games at the time. San Francisco shut down its football program after the season, citing the high costs.

Brown served two years in the Marines before joining the Bears as a sixth-round pick. After leaving the NFL in 1965, he ran a business for 13 years.

Other survivors include sister Greta Gerrie, brother Clarence Brown, son Beau Brown and grandchildren Bria and Brynn Brownie.

Brown's funeral is Saturday at the Reif Mortuary in San Luis Obispo.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press