Brig Owens, a former NFL defensive back who played for the Washington Commanders (formerly Redskins) for 12 seasons, died on Wednesday, June 21, 2022, at the age of 79, according to the team’s statement. His cause of death was not announced by the team or his family.
A Legendary Safety in Washington
Owens was a standout player for the Commanders, ranking second in franchise history with 36 interceptions and first with 686 interception return yards. He was a member of the team’s Super Bowl VII squad, which lost to the Miami Dolphins in their perfect season. He recorded the only interception of Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese in that game, preventing a touchdown in the third quarter.
Owens also scored two defensive touchdowns in the highest-scoring game in NFL history, a 72-41 win over the New York Giants in 1966. He was honored as a member of the 80 Greatest Players in Washington history and the Washington Commanders Ring of Fame.
A Trailblazer and a Leader Off the Field
Owens was more than just a football player. He was a trailblazer and a leader in his community. He was the first African American quarterback at the University of Cincinnati, where he led the team to a 10-1 record in his senior year. He was also a placekicker and a punter, and was inducted into several halls of fame for his college career.
After retiring from the NFL in 1977, Owens became the assistant executive director for the NFL Players Association, where he advocated for the rights and benefits of the players. He was also a successful businessman and a philanthropist, serving on the board of the Military Bowl Foundation and supporting various causes in the Washington area.
Owens was a man of great character and integrity, who always helped someone in need. He was beloved by his teammates, fans, and friends, and his impact on the NFL and the society will never be forgotten.